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Unique Challenges of Healthcare and How Coaching Can Help

Palmer Barefield May 26, 2023 2:27:20 PM

The COVID-19 pandemic brought to light so many of the challenges that healthcare workers deal with day-to-day. These professionals maintain extremely high-quality patient care, while at the same time facing employee burnout, high turnover rates, and incredibly long working hours. 

Although the general public became more aware of these issues because of the pandemic, healthcare workers were already experiencing them long before. In fact, one study shows that “between 35% and 54% of nurses and physicians already felt burned out before the pandemic.”

Continuing to move forward in the same way, without intervention or addressing these healthcare challenges, will only exacerbate them. Instead, healthcare leaders should consider taking measures now to help their employees manage their stress and workload so they can be happier, healthier, and better able to care for their patients effectively. 

Healthcare Leadership coaching is the perfect place to start.


The Challenges of Healthcare

The challenges that healthcare professionals are facing are not new. Long working hours, high levels of stress, and the emotional toll of caring for patients have long weighed on these professionals. When unchecked, these challenges also have a tendency to morph into more harrowing, far-reaching situations, like unsustainable work-life balance, high turnover rates, and a decrease in the quality of patient care.

If action is taken quickly and purposefully, there are many things that can be done to alleviate many of these leadership challenges in healthcare. For example, creating strong boundaries and encouraging honest communication between employees and leadership can help prevent burnout. Encouraging internal connections, incorporating employee feedback, and creating a culture of employee recognition can improve employee retention and reduce turnover.

Providing support for employees also has a huge impact on culture, stress levels, and engagement. Employee coaching specifically has the ability to impact other areas associated with success, including “increased emotional intelligence, improved optimism, and…feelings of empowerment”.


What is Leadership Coaching?

In its simplest form, leadership coaching is the ongoing development of skills based on the identification of areas of strength and weakness and creating growth opportunities. As employees make their way through the coaching sessions, they will apply methodologies their coaches teach them to their work and personal lives, ultimately leading to changes in both behavior and mindset.   

When done effectively, employee coaching can enable resilience and innovation, while also cultivating a healthy workplace culture that supports employees personally and professionally. 


Coaching in Healthcare

While coaching should be encouraged for employees in all types of work, it’s especially beneficial for employees in healthcare. Healthcare professionals deal with incredibly complex issues and situations every day and greatly benefit from the skills taught by professional coaches. 

When implemented in a healthcare environment, coaching can:

  • Improve job satisfaction by helping healthcare professionals level up their performance and make a positive impact on their teams
  • Reduce burnout by reducing stress and setting healthy boundaries
  • Enhance patient care by building strong communication and leadership skills


Implementing Healthcare Coaching

Once a healthcare leader decides to invest in employee coaching, they will need to take a few steps to ensure the coaching is as effective as possible:

  1. Identify Coaching Needs: What do employees need to focus on the most? Different healthcare systems have different needs, so making a list of the top priorities is important.
  2. Selecting Coaches: The healthcare leader will need to determine the types of coaches, and style of coaching, that will fit their employees’ needs best. 1:1 sessions with coaches who have experience working in high pressure situations, for example, are likely to be the most appropriate for healthcare professionals. 
  3. Providing Training for Employees: Once the coaching program has been carefully selected, it’s important that all participants understand what is expected of them and how to participate effectively. Healthcare leaders should consider hosting kickoff meetings to show participants how to interact with their coaches and complete any other assigned tasks correctly.

The most important step in this process is for healthcare leaders to commit to creating and building a strong organizational culture that values coaching and continuous learning. Employee coaching is not a “one and done” event. Healthcare leaders will need to show their commitment to embracing the skills and knowledge employees gain so that everyone can grow and level up together.


Improving Well-being of Healthcare Professionals with Valor

While there are many different coaching options available, Valor has several unique aspects that position it to help improve healthcare environments:

  • An easy-to-use online platform with access to ongoing courses, articles, and assessments
  • A 360 degree assessment to determine each participant’s strengths and areas for opportunity
  • Detailed data analytics that help healthcare leaders understand the impact Valor has on team performance and growth
  • Elite coaches with years of experience coaching top performers around the world, and who know firsthand what it’s like to consistently excel in intense, high-pressure situations

Emphasizing Healthcare Coaching

Healthcare professionals face incredible challenges every day, challenges that increase stress, feelings of isolation, and high turnover rates. Providing coaching that can help foster resilience, develop leadership skills, retain top talent, and improve patient care is a giant step in creating a culture of learning and growth throughout your entire system.

Schedule a demo to see what Valor coaching can do for your healthcare team.

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