Coaching Case Study By Monica Boskovich, Executive Coach, UNITED STATES
How a Healthcare Company Used Coaching as a Dual-Track Approach for Leadership Development
In the spring of 2020, a pediatrics hospital implemented a hybrid model for leadership development to increase the efficacy of learning while building leadership capabilities needed to be successful in a large healthcare system where they represented the only stand-alone children’s hospital in a system made up of over 36, 000 employees and 17 adult hospitals.
This local initiative was meant to achieve multiple outcomes that were directly tied to the strategic plan of the hospital and greater organization.
Expected results Included:
- Building competency-based leadership capabilities essential to the achievement of the five-year strategic goals of the
- Working effectively across both clinical and nonclinical workgroups by building internal networks, creating healthy partnerships, and team effectiveness to support a positive patient experience and the structure for an engaged, high performing
- Adjusting the level at which work is done so it is appropriately matched to the leadership
Healthcare Company Using the Hybrid Model Approach
The hybrid model was developed using the foundations of both traditional adult learning methodologies and leadership group coaching models.
Learning & development aspects:
- Completion of a need’s assessment
- Competency identification: Aligned to system-level leadership competencies, local strategic plan requirements, and connection to the American Organization for Nursing Leadership competency model
Integration of best practices in learning and development includes the following:
- 70/20/10 model of learning
- Adult Learning Theory Principles
- Change Management Theories
Metrics & Evaluation Strategies using the Kirkpatrick model Coaching aspects:
- Group coaching approach
- Attending the group coaching activity was recommended, but optional
- Coaching agreement discussions with leaders and participants
- Formal content-based learning events and coaching group events kept
- Coachee driven conversations
For the internal coaches:
- Reporting of anonymous tracking from group session themes and aggregate attendance
- Internal coaching group community of practice
The program was designed with 8 formal content sessions which were developed based on the need’s assessment and competency identification process, two of which were added last minute to accommodate the environmental changes in response to a worsening pandemic and its effect both personally and professionally on leaders within the organization. A cohort-based approach was used and approximately 30 Director level leaders, both clinical and nonclinical participated in the program. The same structure was in place for 2 cohorts with approximately 100 total Manager level leaders. Originally, the events were developed for in-person interactions. Due to safety factors associated with the effects of Covid 19, the structure transition shifted to Zoom-based webinars which relied heavily on a highly skilled facilitation team to engage attendees, create multimodal learning interactions, and strong supports for learning effectiveness.
The Hybrid Experience Included
A learning event with the following consistent pieces for each session:
- Review/Reflection of the previous event and learnings experienced
- Identification of competency focus for a new event
- Introduction of new content/tools
- Integration activities for new and old content to reinforce learning and increase retention/ application of concepts
- Values reflection and commitment to action
- Competency-based, leader and goal alignment discussions
A group coaching event with the following consistent structure for each session:
- High-Level review of previous learning event main points, led by an internal coach
- Individual coaching agreement discussion (Identification of the desired topic to discuss, outcome expectations, personal meaning, and success measures)
- Exploration and discovery-driven by coach approach
- Commitment to action coupled with a discussion of support needed and learning moments
The Benefits of a Dual Approach Learning to Leaders
Time and time again, it was mentioned, by the leaders that the dual approach to learning was a benefit. The desire to have social interaction and time to reflect and synthesize the learning was a luxury for many of them that they enjoyed. The opportunity to verbally process and use a coaching approach as part of their learning environment built confidence and even more important helped them to have compassion for themselves and their teams during a time when “compassion fatigue” was rampant and fatigue, in general, were at the forefront of every interaction due to the effects of Covid 19.
Many leaders vocalized the challenge that came with being an expert in their fields and moving into leadership roles with little support for the new dynamics of the position. Their openness to learning and participating strongly supported the idea that value was drawn from their participation.
The ability for participants to build relationships with other leaders added a previously missing dynamic. Though interactions occurred between groups they were patient-centric and did not focus on how the leadership group worked as a team and supported each other’s efforts. The opportunity to do this was received positively. There were numerous times these attributes were verbally shared between individuals and in group settings which identified the high-level support and commitment the leaders felt for the program. Leaders also continued to show support for this approach by requesting their direct reports have access to the program moving forward.
Learning retention and deliberate practice were increased as the format offered a layered approach to the learning and reinforcement of the concepts were built into the design. The most apparent evidence that the approach was a value add and meaningful to the participants came about when we were asked to prioritize all business activities to focus on the pandemics-related needs. Executive Leadership made a specific request to continue this experience as they felt it was personal and professional support needed for their people.
Participants shared this same perspective during the various events and their attendance increased from 80% with other programs to 95% with this program. Relevant environmental insights were gained for executive leadership through theme-based and aggregate information shared about the experience.
The dynamic of content exposure, experiential learning, and group coaching gave this program an edge. Next to other learning experiences offered in the healthcare system, the differentiator for this program was the group coaching aspect. There are current discussions of how to implement the program at a system level for the full organization which would greatly increase the ability for others to experience the positive results of the approach.