Hospital Coaching

Hospitals, like other businesses, can get sick

In 2001, the Southeast Georgia Health System was on the critical list. It was bleeding to death from losses of $13 million per year.

Just 12 months later, under new management, the “patient” emerged from intensive care earing profits at a rate of $11 million annually. The miraculous recovery continued, and in 2004 this 356-bed medical system was designated the best large hospital in the state of Georgia.

In order to help sustain and expand this dramatic turnaround, Gary Colberg, the health system’s new CEO, brought Kashbox Coaching on board in the summer of 2004 as the organization’s coach. He didn’t just want to shore up the low performers; his goal was to strengthen managers at all levels. So he asked Kashbox Coaching to coach his entire leadership team – all of the vice presidents, directors, and managers – totaling approximately 85 individuals.

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Hospital Coaching

Medical professionals long ago recognized that providing personal, supportive care accelerates the healing process. The most effective care for organizational managers is individual support through coaching.

Coaching vs Consulting

Coaching is one of today’s most talked about trends in management.

Mounting evidence indicates that mangers are more productive and successful when they have a coach in their corner.

Coaching is different from consulting. Consultants typically focus on projects with the goal of maximizing profitability. Coaches, on the other hand, focus on individuals, with the goal of maximizing potential.

Consultants help their clients solve problems. Coaches don’t attempt to solve specific problems or advice. Rather, they help their clients develop positive attitudes and productive skills that will enable them to overcome internal and external obstacles, so they can solve their own problems and solve and achieve significantly greater success than they could accomplish alone.

Consultants have been around for a long time; coaching is a relatively new profession. And within the coaching profession, the most dynamic new development is the coaching of leadership teams.

Unique Challenges, Powerful Solutions:
Coaching for Rural & Regional Systems

Rural Hospital Leadership Coaching

Regional Health Systems Leadership Coaching

Rural Multi-Hospital Systems Leadership Coaching

Objectives of Corporate Coaching

When Gary Colberg, CEO of Southeast Georgia Health System, charged Kashbox Coaching with the responsibility for coaching his management team, he had in mind the following four objectives:

  • To strengthen the organization’s professional development and succession planning process, so the health system would be in a better position to promote from within.

  • To enhance the attitudes and skills of leaders, so they would be more productive in their current positions.

  • To promote the personal and professional growth of leaders, so they would be better prepared to take on increased responsibilities.

  • To enable leaders to evaluate for themselves whether they were in the positions most compatible with their goals and abilities.

Long-Term Benefits From Coaching Insights

Managers Self-electing change and re-organization

Gary Colberg, CEO of Southeast Georgia Health System, expected that some managers, benefiting from insights gained through coaching, would realize that they were in positions that were too stressful, or that demanded time they’d prefer to spend with their families. These individuals could request transfers to other positions in the health system where they would find greater fulfillment.

He anticipated that others would become aware through coaching that they were not only in the wrong jobs, but that they were in the wrong organization. They would then be in a position to choose to leave the hospital to pursue work in other fields or in other healthcare settings.

Although these changes would be disruptive in the short run, Gary wisely perceived that the long-term benefits of having motivated people in positions that matched their skills, interests, and temperaments, more than offset any short-term risks and inconveniences.

The Process

A Three-Phase Corporate Coaching Process

Kashbox Coaching designed a coaching program with three phases.

The Process

Phase 1

In the initial phase, starting with the top of the organization, eight to 15 leaders attend eight group sessions over eight weeks:

> 8-15 Leaders
> 8 Group Sessions
> 8 Weeks

These sessions provide useful information about communications and leadership. But just as importantly, they establish the connection and trust that would be so essential to the success of phases two and three.

“I enjoyed the sessions” said one director. “They taught me some useful skills, and they made me think about my life and my career -where I was and where I was going”.

Phase 2

Leaders are coached individually by phone:

> 3 Phone Sessions (30 minutes)

Most participants value the opportunity to express personal fears, questions, and ideas with an assurance of confidentiality.

Phase 3

Participants are offered the opportunity to continue their individual coaching by phone for as long as it proves beneficial:

> 2 Phone Sessions Monthly

In the case of Southeast Georgia Health System, CEO Gary Colberg strongly believed in the value of coaching

Gary Colberg offered leaders ongoing individual sessions as a fully funded benefit. This involved two phone calls per month, with participating managers encouraged to call their coaches whenever they had a difficult decision or concern, The calls usually confirmed actions they had already planned, but some participants became aware of issues and options they hadn’t considered.

The Benefits

Corporate Coaching Creates Unique Opportunities

The Benefits

Because corporate coaches have access to leaders at all levels within the organization, they are often able to serve as a catalyst for the “cross pollination” of useful information.

For example, sometimes we will possess knowledge about people or situations that may be blind spots to the individuals we are coaching. During private coaching sessions, without breaking confidentiality, we may use questions to help these individuals see issues from different perspectives, so they can formulate the most appropriate actions.

When given permission to do so, team coaches can help promote teamwork, trust, and morale by passing on compliments.

For example, when a vice president told a coach that he was very pleased with the performance of a manager, the coach asked if they could pass on the compliments in their next coaching session with the manager. The vice president enthusiastically said, "yes".

Corporate Coaches can sometimes diffuse potentially troublesome issues

For example, a manager told a coach during a coaching session about a concern she had with a new administrative system. Given the organizational structure, it would have been difficult for her to address this concern directly.

So her coach asked, “Would you mind if I alert the leader responsible for that area that some people have expressed concerns?” She readily agreed, and because of her input, the leader was able to address the concerns before they became problems.

In order for team coaching to work, every member of the leadership team must have a high degree of assurance that Kashbox Coaching will not violate confidences or promote anyone’s agenda, including the agenda of the coach.

At the Southeast Georgia Health System, much of the foundation for this level of trust was laid during the initial eight sessions of the coaching program, we first connected with the participants.

But corporate coaches must constantly strive to build connectedness and trust. If they ever betray a confidence or violate anyone’s trust, their credibility and usefulness would instantly cease.

Kashbox Coaching

Commitment Indicates Organizational Health

Kashbox Coaching

Understandably, some organizations would be reluctant to give anyone the freedom and access that a corporate coach requires in order to be effective. No matter how trustworthy and professional the coach is, it’s natural for the CEO and other senior executives to be somewhat nervous about allowing an “outsider” to serve as a “change agent” to the entire leadership team on a continuing, confidential basis.

The Southeast Georgia Health System’s commitment to this team coaching program was evidence of organizational health. Healthy organizations welcome openness and change because they’re focused on achieving excellence. Unhealthy organizations tend to foster secrecy, protectiveness, and fear. Self-assured CEOs give people the freedom to be the best they can be. Executives who lack confidence tend to feel threatened and attempt to control them.

Because coaches are “outsiders” they offer an objective, detached perspective that is extremely valuable to the organization and to the individual being coached. Participants are more willing to open up to someone who is not involved in the organization’s day-to-day operations.

Some people ask us how a coach handles negative gossip if it occurs during private coaching sessions.

For example, what if managers criticize fellow workers or even their superiors? Don’t confidential coaching sessions tempt people to engage in this type of gossip?

Actually, the opposite is true.

At its core, coaching is about encouraging people to take personal responsibility for their lives. If clients attempt to engage in criticism, gossip, or blame-shifting during coaching sessions, we encourage them to take a step back. We ask them questions such as “Are you taking personal responsibility in this situation? Do you think your comments are helpful or hurtful? If the roles were reversed, how would you want this situation to be handled?”

Coaching promotes teamwork and professional excellence by cultivating personal responsibility. When people accept responsibility, gossip and finger-pointing disappear.

Moving Up, Moving On, Moving Forward

Did Coaching Lead to Managers Self-electing change?

As a result of the coaching process, some leaders at the Southeast Georgia Health System did indeed ask to be transferred to less demanding positions within the organization.

Other leaders, over time, assumed greater responsibilities.

A few leaders self-elected themselves out of the organization.

The great majority of those involved in coaching simply became more successful in the positions they already held.

In all instances of which we are aware, both the individuals and the organization benefited.

If you are a medical professional and your organization is floundering (or worse), hospital leadership coaching might be the solution you have been seeking.

What Would You Like To Know?

About KASHBOX COaching

Our founder, David Herdlinger, creator of the KASHBOX is a pioneering leader in the development and application of this dynamic corporate coaching program. 

  • Kashbox Coaching is headquartered on beautiful Saint Simons Island, just off the southern coast of Georgia, in the United States.

  • We have associates located throughout the country – helping people like you and your employees identify, develop, and realize their potential.

  • We are committed to a common purpose; your success, and are available when you need us and where you need us.

  • We believe it is the most effective means for promoting positive, rapid, and lasting organizational change.

David Herdlinger creator of the Kashbox methodology for executive coaching

We Work For You

Our individual and corporate coaching clients are diverse and span many industries, including but not limited to:

> Hospitals & Medical Facilities
> Rural Hospitals
> Rural Multi-Hospital Systems
> Regional Hospitals
> Regional Health Systems
Pharmaceutical Companies
> Insurance Agencies
> Home Health Care Providers
> Health Care Technology Companies

This partial listing will give you a better feel for the types of individual and corporate coaching clients we serve. However, we truly value and respect our clients’ time and privacy, so we’ve elected not to list all of our clients here by name in a public format.

Our development process is applicable to an international corporation, a unit or department, a management team, or a small, privately owned company.

Our goal is to help you achieve your goals. We are committed to helping you and your organization get results. Developing People to Achieve Their Full Potential… That’s What We Do!

Results Speak Louder Than Words

Take a look at some of our client testimonials to read excerpts from actual letters and emails we have received from some of our clients – who’ve given their permission to post their comments.

Kashbox Coaching

What’s Next?

Contact Kashbox Coaching to learn more and get your organization on the road to recovery!

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Kashbox Coaching