Achieving Transformational Change Through Coaching

I really enjoy conversations with executives and senior clinical leaders in healthcare.  As a coach, I find many people interested in having a coach have a strong willingness to grow as a person.  They might not have it when they first sign up but usually after a coaching kick off they find not only do they want to grow as an executive leader but ultimately as a human being.  A coach accelerates the learning curve and impact that is more difficult to do as an individual on their own.  Even with multiple educational degrees, certifications or attendance in leadership programs.

Today’s healthcare executives realize they need to develop new tools and process that can bring them into a life of intentional design and having a coach guide them to expand their capabilities to accelerate their growth as a transformational leader.  Healthcare needs more leaders capable of working within complex matrixed organizations, with new strategic partners and ultimately driving fast and significant change to provide better value to our patients and customers.

Smart executive leaders in many other industries have learned how to develop more self-awareness. It’s critical to develop more transformational leaders from within your organization to drive the necessary change during a turbulent and dynamic environment.

In coaching, we use a more experiential and reflective process to increase the awareness to the executive using real world scenarios or looking at what is in front of them today.  We might ask, what is keeping you up at night? What project are you putting off and then learn how to use that self-reflection to become more intentional about our choices for approach.

What does coaching ask of an individual?
  • Focus: on one’s self, the tough questions, the hard truths and/or learning more about a person’s success.
  • Observation: the behaviors and communications of others.
  • Listening: to one’s intuition, assumptions, judgments, and to the way one sounds when one speaks.
  • Self-Discipline: to challenge existing attitudes, beliefs and behaviors and to develop new ones which serve one’s goals in a superior way.
  • Style- leveraging personal strengths and overcoming limitations to develop a winning style.
  • Decisive actions: however, uncomfortable, and despite personal insecurities, to reach for the extraordinary.
  • Compassion- for one’s self as he or she experiments with new behaviors, experiences, setback and for others as they do the same.
  • Humor: yes, committing to not taking one’s self so seriously, using humor to lighten and brighten any situation.
  • Personal control- maintain composure in the face of disappointment and unmet expectations, avoiding emotional reactivity.
  • Courage: to reach more than before, to shift out of being fear based in to being in abundance as a core strategy for success to engage in continual self-examination, to overcome internal and external obstacles.

This deeper work results in sustainable, transformational change. It’s not formulaic. Being a transactional leader focuses more on results, outcomes, behavior and actions.  Evolving into a transformational leader is more challenging.  It’s not something you can just learn in an MBA program or leadership seminars.  You must put it into action. The role of the coach is to clarify results, observe behaviors, challenge conditioned thinking, mental models and paradigms and then support those new insights. This is while the executive is challenged to examine experiences, reframe mental models, choose new behaviors and achieve improved results.

Janet Dombrowski
About the author

Janet Dombrowski spent nearly 20 years as a senior strategy leader in various consulting organizations and large health systems, after an early career in healthcare delivery and operations.
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