Deploying a physician coaching initiative is an effective catalyst for driving transformational change and accelerating successful outcomes. To establish coaches who have culture-shifting impact, they must be an extension of leader messaging and the reflection of genuine investment in the growth and development of physicians. If this effort is rolled out properly, coaches should be honored, welcomed, and respected by physicians as a resource to guide and help with the execution of rewarding, purpose-driven work.
Here are five guidelines for an organizations’ leadership team to consider implementing during the deployment of a physician coaching strategy.
1) Strategically announce that coaches are an available resource within the organization.
The role of both physician and administrative leaders is to profile and communicate the identity and function of all coaches. Leadership may announce coaches as new resource at clinical staff meetings, during a huddle, or through a published announcement in a newsletter, for example. Ensuring everyone knows the who, what, and why surrounding the physician coach deployment will make coaches more effective ultimately.
2) Position coaches as skilled, effective experts.
Make rock stars out of your coaches and position them as experts who will be significant contributors to the group’s success. Share how as an organization you’re investing in expert physician coaches who will not only help enhance interpersonal collaboration but also improve physician-patient relationships. Take the opportunity to be creative in how you share this information.
3) Introduce specific coaches by name to your physicians and teams.
It’s essential for everybody to know who the physician coaches are specifically. Friendly introductions better facilitate coaches into the coaching pathway. The physician coach eventually becomes the key resource and the person that others come to for guidance. In fact, this is one of the best things about becoming a physician coach.
4) Communicate your coaches’ roles and responsibilities.
Let the group know that physician coaches will fill a number of roles throughout the organization including helping any physician who is seeking help. The coach can support physicians through the orientation of new physicians as they join the team, help with integrated training with nursing staff, and enable physicians to grow as a collaborative team in the clinical environment. When everyone understands the breadth of offerings from the coaching team, their value increases exponentially.
5) Connect coaches to executive physician and board level leadership.
Position coaches as a direct extension of physician leaders, executive leaders, and the board of directors. Coached physicians need to know that leadership supports and encourages all coaching efforts at the highest level—it reduces the likelihood of a coach’s work becoming ineffective and frustrating. The physician coaching communication by leaders should be positive and deliver the message that it’s all about developing skills and improving the care quality for patients.
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