Healthcare executive coaching has been especially important to me since the 2020 - 2023 Covid pandemic.
Of course, I’d had clients in the field prior to Covid, but, as can be imagined, the pandemic created an urgency around our coaching.
My many years of providing coaching support for leaders going through stressful times attracted additional healthcare executives during the Covid years. Not by the hundreds of course, but more than enough to keep my executive coaching practice busy. If you are a healthcare executive, I invite you to connect and explore how I might be able to assist you.
I remember one coaching session only a few weeks into the pandemic, where a CEO and I discussed how to double the size of their hospital. They needed to deal with the patient isolation requirements of the early, and still largely undefined, pandemic.
All around, increasing numbers of people were succumbing to the virus and there was a lot of very, very serious concern about spread. Mixed messages were coming from authorities and exacerbating an already tough situation.
We discussed converting other buildings on the hospital grounds, securing off a significant portion of the hospital itself and a couple other more out there ideas.
Finally, we discussed how to convert hospital grounds and parking lots into patient care space. Together we brainstormed and thought through using tents for patient treatment areas, much like mobile army bases used.
It doesn’t sound so unique now, but at the time it was out of the box thinking. The army had mobile medical tents, but normal hospitals generally didn’t need such things. The seriousness of the situation required very creative and practical solutions.
It wasn’t very long into the pandemic and another client; a VP of Operations was dealing with a significant workforce challenge.
Increasing numbers of staff were often off work with Covid, or as part of an abundance of caution having been with those who did contract the virus. Those left were working long hours and sometime multiple shifts.
So much was unknown. Staff spent long shifts gowned and masked and working under super-strict protocol. They did their utmost to extend their usual “personal touch,” to those isolated from family and visitors. It was unbelievably stressful for staff. Those in any position of leadership felt it.
My clients certainly felt it, and couldn’t help but absorb the anxiety it produced.
Staffing challenges were acute. Burnout rose significantly. And people began leaving healthcare. Slowly at first, but then in increasing numbers. Particularly baby boomers deduced that it was time to go (and stay safe.)
It was not uncommon for my clients to mention having shortages in the hundreds on any given day we were coaching. They were scrambling to backfill positions and deal with all the logistics involved in services being cut back or curtailed.
As time went along, it seemed to me the term “burnout” became as common as any other in the healthcare industry. I’d spent almost 25 years supporting leaders who were on the edge of burnout and never experienced it being so talked about.
I could go on ...
I mention the realities during this crisis for a reason. Never before had I seen healthcare leaders facing such pressing situations that just never let up. Day after day, week after week, month after month the pressure stayed on. It highlighted for me the importance of the work that I was doing. I reflect back in awe of the resilience these men and women displayed ... and continue to display.
My coaching in general, and my work in healthcare executive coaching over the last few years in particular, remains a crucial, integral part of keeping executives working at their best and not burning out themselves.
Put another way, the coaching I provide, matters.
I am so thankful I was there to provide a calming voice and an objective sounding board during so many hard days of the pandemic.
I am humbled to have been there “at just the right time,” to listen to the heart-wrenching stories these leaders needed to share with someone. Sometimes their own families, close friends or work colleagues died of Covid. Long Covid became a reality. I’m glad I was there to talk about it.
I’m so thankful that I have been able to zero in fast on a need, help my clients think it through, and assist them in creating a plan of action for forward movement.
I’m grateful to have been endowed with a degree of creativity, to be able to provide that private, confidential, sounding board that my clients needed as they thought through tough, and big challenges.
I’m glad we could acknowledge and process the significant stress while remaining professional and solution oriented. Coaching works!
Of course, as healthcare researchers and leaders knew more, and instituted new patterns of care, other challenges arose that needed to be addressed.
I’ll continue to provide healthcare executive coaching.
It’s entirely possible I may not see stressful days like the pandemic created, ever again. I certainly hope I never see anything that concentrated for such a prolonged period of time.
I have confidence in the men and women I’ve coached, who along with colleagues are doing their part to ensure a strong and responsive healthcare system. I’m thankful I get to play a positive role in contributing.
If you are looking for healthcare executive coaching, please contact me. I would be honored to have a conversation to see how I might be of assistance.