July/August 2013

CHI Coaching Program at CHA Assembly


A unique, holistic approach earned CHI’s leadership coaching program a spot on the Innovation Forum agenda at the Catholic Health Association’s 2013 Assembly. Tom Kopfensteiner, senior vice president of mission; Alan Bowman, vice president of ministry formation; and Diane Menendez, director of coaching and mentoring, presented “Leadership Coaching: Incorporating Catholic Legacy and Empowering Leaders within the Healing Ministry” to more than 300 assembly attendees.

Kopfensteiner introduced the session by explaining a unique aspect of the program: the development of internal coaches.

“Leader coaching is a function that employers typically bring in from outside,” said Bowman. “We brought coaching inside because we saw it as an opportunity to improve the linkage to our mission, vision, values and strategic priorities while reducing the cost to the organization."

Bowman and Menendez highlighted the coaching program's status as a collaboration of Mission and Talent Management, under the umbrella of CHI’s Center for Formation. “By working together, we could create a program that is unique among coaching programs and fully compatible with the other formational experiences CHI offers to leaders,” said Menendez. “Our internal coaches learn to discuss the integration of spirituality in CHI’s workplace. That’s a very important part of work/life balance for our leaders.”

“We know that many people who work for CHI are energized by their personal spirituality,” said Bowman. “Our coaches assure their clients that it’s OK to bring spirituality to work with them – in fact, it’s encouraged. This is a healing ministry with a mission to build healthy communities. In addition to the need to earn a living, the opportunity to share in the mission is a big part of why we are here.”

“This formational aspect absolutely contributes to the success of a coach and client relationship,” said Menendez. “It opens up new ways to talk about work and being effective as a leader; it presents an opportunity for coaches to tap into what is most meaningful to a client.”

During the past two years, about 180 leaders have been through the coaching program; about 45 coaching engagements are active right now. The success of coaching engagements is assessed in part by the tools CHI uses to evaluate leader performance, including 360° Reviews and Leadership Effectiveness Reviews. “These tools include scores for how effectively a leader integrates spirituality with work,” said Bowman. “This helps us identify opportunities to adjust and expand the coaching program.”

“Now that the coaching program has been running for two full years, we will soon be able to gauge its effect on leader retention, which usually shows up three to five years after a program begins,” said Menendez.

CHI already experiences the benefits of reduced costs for leader coaching. “By using internal instead of external coaches, our program saves about $10,000 for each of the 20 participants in the new Transformative Leadership Development Program,” said Menendez. “That’s $200,000 saved for just that program. Plus, CHI gets the benefit of the increased skills and knowledge of each coach and client. That’s priceless.”

For more information about CIH’s Coaching Program, contact Alan Bowman or Diane Menendez.