Health care leaders have called for the development of communication and leadership skills to improve manager–employee relationships, employee job satisfaction, quality care, and work environments.
The aim of the study reported here was to pilot how a 2-day coaching workshop (“Coaching for Impressive CARE”) conducted as a leadership development strategy influenced frontline care managers’ coaching practices in residential long-term care (LTC) settings. We had four objectives: (a) to identify managers’ perceptions of their role as a coach of employee performance in LTC facilities, (b) to understand managers’ intentions to coach employee performance, (c) to examine opportunities and factors that contributed to or challenged implementation of workshop coaching skills in daily leadership/management practice, and (d) to examine managers’ reports of using coaching practices and employee responses after the workshop.
We used an exploratory/descriptive design involving pre-/post-workshop surveys, e-mail reminders, and focus groups to examine participation of 21 LTC managers in a 2-day coaching workshop and their use of coaching practices in the workplace.
Focus group findings provided examples of how participants used their coaching skills in practice (e.g., communicating empathy) and how staff responded. Factors contributing to and challenging implementation of these coaching skills in the workplace were identified. Attitudes and intentions to be a coach increased significantly, and some coaching skills were used more frequently after the workshop, specifically planning for performance change with employees.
The coaching workshop was feasible to implement, well received by participants, influenced their willingness to become coaches, and had some noted impact on their use of coaching behaviors in the workplace. Coaching skills by managers to improve staff performance with residents in LTC facilities can be learned.