Update on coaching and healthcare

The healthcare industry continues to be one of the growth areas for coaching. Meanwhile, the Center for Executive Coaching attracts many healthcare professionals who want to learn practical, best practices in executive and leadership coaching. There are many reasons for this, among them our experience coaching healthcare leaders, our background in healthcare strategy and performance improvement work, and the fact that many of our methodologies have their roots in our founder’s work in complex healthcare initiatives.

Following is an update on some of the trends and happenings we are seeing in coaching in the healthcare field:

  1. Keep it focused on results, simple language, and practical solutions. Many previous approaches to coaching (not to mention consulting) have brought so much academic theory and jargon into healthcare systems that the work has gone over the heads of frontline managers and workers. It has also served as a way for leaders to avoid results, using complex language to complicate situations, talk around issues, and not be accountable, rather than to get to the root causes of issues and hold each other accountable for high standards and doing what is best for patients, physicians, the financial standing of the system, and the overall needs of the community. We are finding that healthcare system leadership yearn for straight talk, but sometimes need an objective party to create an environment where people can say what needs to be said, set clear expectations, speak in clear and simple language, and insist on accountability and effective execution.

  2. Create a culture of success through coaching. Many other industries have discovered the hierarchical, command-and-control leadership doesn’t work, and hasn’t for decades. In healthcare, a certain hierarchy is essential in urgent care situations. However, coaching becomes a core management and leadership competency when developing people for the future. More and more healthcare systems are recognizing the value of coaching as a tool to develop leaders and build a pipeline of leaders who can grow the organization into the future.

  3. Deploy coaching to support Six Sigma and other performance improvement initiatives. As healthcare systems adopt six sigma they find that Six Sigma practitioners can speak the language of Six Sigma, but struggle to implement it in their complex organizations. It is hard to make change in healthcare systems. There seems to be resistance to change everywhere, and it is not easy to apply the concepts. Coaching skills help to implement initiatives like Six Sigma by helping people get great ideas, get buy in for great ideas, and then implement great ideas.

  4. Tie coaching to competency models, as well as to performance. Healthcare systems often have competency models and wonder how best to implement them and measure results. Best-practice coaching methodologies offer ways to measure and track changes in behavior and tie them right back to competencies. In fact, one best-practice online coaching platform even allows coaches to integrate competency models performance management systems via coaching plans.

  5. Coaching academies offer an affordable way to improve leadership skills and get measurable results. Health systems wanting to develop supervisors, managers, and high-potential managers as leaders are implementing high-performance coaching academies. These academies combine coaching, peer support, best-practice leadership content, and assessments all focused on having participants not only develop over time, but bring significant and measurable results back to their jobs and teams over a period of six months to a year. Cohorts of up to 24 participants meet in groups for about 4 hours each month, and hold each other accountable for achieving results over the course of their time together. Unlike traditional leadership training, dubbed “The Great Training Robbery” in some publications, the Coaching Academy format is flexible, engaging, practical, and bakes results into the process for a measurable return on investment.

  6. Train Organizational Development specialists, EAP professionals, physicians, nurses, and others in the healthcare system as coaches. We are seeing a trend of training specific leaders in the healthcare organization to be coaches to fill various roles. Sometimes these roles are as full time coaches to coach specific levels of the organization and roll out coaching programs. Other times the role is to enhance their skills as a leader in the organization. We also see professionals being trained to train other coaches and create that culture of coaching described earlier. 

  7. Take advantage of huge opportunities to coach for high-impact results. We continue to see many places where coaching brings significant value to healthcare organizations:
  • Helping new nurse managers develop skills and adapt to their roles.
  • Coaching leadership teams to work more effectively together, develop trust, execute better, and lead change.
  • Support leaders in changing the culture, leading significant performance improvement, and accelerating change.
  • Helping clinicians transition into administrative/leadership roles.
  • Supporting merger integration when two or more different organizations come together and have to learn how to work with a different culture or cultures.
  • Enabling disruptive physicians to change behaviors.
  • Coaching supervisors and managers to improve employee engagement, including measurable improvements in survey scores.
  • Supporting leaders to handle overwhelm and stress, and juggle multiple priorities with all of the challenges they face.


In summary, coaching continues to grow within the healthcare industry. Why? Because it gets results and is an affordable, non-invasive, high-impact way to address the challenges that healthcare leaders face. Many healthcare systems are sending professionals — whether executive team members, physicians, nurse managers, Human Resources professionals, or internal coaches seeking additional training — to the Center for Executive Coaching for training in best-practice methodologies and processes in order to address these challenges.

Please contact Founder and Director Andrew Neitlich anytime for more information: andrewneitlich@centerforexecutivecoaching.com

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