Harnessing the Potential of Performance Coaching in Public Health

The health workforce is critical in scaling up health interventions to achieve universal health coverage and equity, especially in the present global health crisis. Attaining such a goal requires well-qualified, highly skilled practitioners; however, health workers face a variety of challenges including lack of competencies, motivation, and resources.

Motivational deficits are ubiquitous when they undermine the intrinsic motivation of staff to do their jobs and to receive training to improve the work they do. To cultivate long-term/intrinsic motivation, it is necessary to meet 3 basic psychological needs: a sense of competency (to be able to do the required tasks), a sense of empowerment to perform the work, and a sense of commitment and involvement in the community. A managerial motivation system is essential to create an environment that support these 3 senses.

What mechanisms the managerial motivation system can comprehend for these 3 senses to flourish? Performance coaching is one answer, let’s see how it can support the motivation of healthcare workforce!

Performance Coaching and its Importance in Healthcare

Coaching is a form of development in which an experienced person, called a coach, supports a learner – the coachee – in achieving a specific personal or professional goal. The coach provides training and guidance so that personal and professional growth and performance are boosted, and individual responsibility and accountability is promoted. [1]

Performance coaching is an ongoing process, in which supervisors, as coaches, evaluate and address the developmental needs of their coachees to improve performance in their current roles, build strengths, or correct weaknesses. Coaches and coachees work collaboratively on developing plans that might include training, new assignments, job enrichment, self-study, or work details. This also helps build and maintain effective relationships between coachees and coaches. [2] With performance coaching, coaches and coachees work collaboratively in an ongoing process in which coaches evaluate and address the developmental needs of their coachees to improve their performance.

In healthcare industry, where employees need to apply new technologies and medical techniques, and adapt to community, on-the-job, performance-related feedback helps healthcare professionals learn more effectively. [3] Implementing performance coaching in healthcare ensures constant improvement in employees’ career development. Consequently, it unlocks the full potential of the healthcare workforce in improving the public’s health and contributing to healthier communities, especially in LMICs countries.

Implementing performance coaching in healthcare ensures constant improvement in employees’ career development, and consequently, unlocks the full potential of the healthcare workforce in improving the public’s health and contributing to healthier communities, especially in LMICs countries.

Healthcare Supervisors’ Roles in Performance Coaching

To coaches, who are expected to support their coachees to reach their full potential through a partnering process, five elements are suggested to achieve effective performance coaching:

Set goals to generate positive results for coaches and coachees.

In order to avoid communication gaps around goals between coaches and coachees, performance coaching and goal tracking is critical. Goals establish accountability and promoting development. Without specific goals, it’s impossible for coaches to provide useful feedback as both coach and coachee might not be aligned on the same set of expectations the coachee is working towards. When it comes to goal setting, a SMART goal process is highly recommended.

Specific: Well-defined, clear, and unambiguous. A best practice is to derive coachees’ goals from the responsibilities outlined in their job descriptions.

Measurable: With specific criteria that measure the progress, when coachee understand how they will be measured, they are more likely to succeed in achieving their goals.

Achievable: Attainable and not impossible to achieve.

Realistic: Within reach, realistic, and relevant.

Timely: With a clearly defined timeline, including a starting date and a target date. The purpose is to create urgency.

Use coaching to motivate coachees to change their behavior

When coaches provide timely feedback, coachees are more likely to modify the way they approach their jobs. It’s fairer to provide coachees with feedback in real-time, rather than waiting for the half-yearly or annual performance review. Moreover, constant feedback, boosts both the process of achieving better performance and the coachees’ confidence in work as well.

Use a performance management software to give a framework to performance coaching

In busy work environments like healthcare, it’s important to give performance coaching a structured framework. Performance management software can help implement the process of performance coaching into health programmes. Performance management software offers a centralized online system that manage, monitor and record performance coaching processes.

Leverage technology to make coachees more active participants in the evaluation process

The solution makes it easy for coaches to document employee progress over time and for coachees to see their accomplishments in a tangible way. Performance coaching is also a two-way communication, in which coachees can also give their feedbacks. When feeling that their voices and concerns are heard, coachees are more likely to remain engaged and connected to their purpose.

Reinforce positive behaviors with recognition

It’s a good practice to highlight positive results with recognition programs. Even small gestures of recognition can make a big difference in keeping coachees engaged and motivated.

How GaneshAID Utilizes Mobile Solution for Performance Coaching

At GaneshAID, we have developed C2P – a unique digital performance coaching solution that revolutionize supportive supervision for immunizations workers. C2P solution is:

  • Realistic for implementation by EPI teams.
  • Relevant and useful because it addresses the challenges of supervision.
  • A booster of the effectiveness of supportive supervision
  • Of beneficial impact on the performance of personnel, services and ultimately on immunization coverage and equity

C2P supports:

  1. The competencies of the coaches in performance coaching, including:
    • Continuous training
    • Giving guidance
    • Evaluating the performance based on clearly defined key performance indicators
    • Frequent retroactive constructive feedback
    • Interpersonal relations between coaches and coaches
  2. Social and emotional support, which includes:
    • Listening to staff while they discuss professional difficulties
    • Providing support and relating to the emotional needs of staff when they feel overwhelmed, stressed, or confused by their work
    • Quality interpersonal interaction
  3. Possibility for the supervisor and the supervisee to work together on the problems (on site and remotely).
  4. Structured and planned supervision with validated content and learning objectives and use of game mechanism to support the motivation.

C2P – a unique performance coaching solution specifically for immunizations workers.

To reinforce good behavior with recognition, in GaneshAID’s C2P, we created a performance e-dashboard to monitor progress and a consequent championship for gamification of the process, one among coaches and one among coachees. The solution also enables monitoring at central level of all coaches and coachees to see engagement and progress of each and all, and consequently analyze the impact of the solution on the performance of the immunization programme.

GaneshAID’s digital performance coaching solution – C2P with e-dashboard and badges as knowledge recognition.

What do you think about performance coaching in healthcare industry? Do you know of any other best practices in the field? Would you like more information on C2P? Please share with us in the comment section below and do not hesitate to ask for more information!

[1] The Healthcare Industry: Ready For Coaching?, IOC Fellows, Institute of Coaching, McLean, Affiliate of Harvard Medical School, 2020

[2] Is Coaching Right for My Healthcare Team?, Christine Corning, Cornerstone, 2021

[3] How to Increase Employee Engagement with On-the-Job Coaching, HealthcareSource


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