Coaching In Healthcare

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Pondering Coaching in Healthcare

This past year, as I was completing my practice coaching sessions to accompany the Wisdom of the Whole Coaching Academy 60-hour course, I had the opportunity to provide volunteer coaching in an acute care hospital. Throughout my experience, I often pondered, “How might coaching fit into a healthcare setting?”

A literature review was quite revealing in providing answers to my question! A systematic review of 284 full text articles in the medical literature on health and wellness coaching (Wolever et al., 2013) identifies specific components of health and wellness coaching such as: a definition of terms, a definition of the coaching process, a description of the educational background of the coaches, and areas for further investigation. To me, this clearly indicates coaching within a healthcare setting exists, and is being studied.

Here are some examples of the articles I discovered on the use of coaching in a healthcare setting:


  • Cognitive coaching can be used in an academic setting to improve teaching excellence through improving nursing faculty’s sense of teacher efficacy and ability to self-reflect on their teaching practice (Maskey, 2009).
  • Telephonic coaching conducted by nurses revealed a cost-effective way to reduce caregiver burden and increase care-giver confidence and preparedness in heart failure home care management (Piamjariyakul et al., 2013).
  • Coaching can be helpful in alleviating hospital staff burnout (Gazelle et al., 2015).
  • Coaching conducted by nurses to support individuals diagnosed with chronic illness showed that identification of client goals and steps to achieve these goals led to improved personal well-being of individuals who were balancing employment and the challenges associated with chronic health problems (McGonagle et al., 2014).
  • Coaching 6 to 12 year old children diagnosed with ADHD proved to be an effective empowerment tool when used in a multimodal treatment plan (Garcia et al., 2015).
  • The integration of nurse coaching principles into the daily practice of nurses in a cardiovascular health clinic was successfully accomplished through staff training in coaching skills. Incorporating coaching principles into daily nursing practice lead to an increased facilitation of patient identified goals.  (Stuart-Mullen et al., 2015)
  • A paradigm shift occurs for many nurses as they learn and begin to integrate coaching principles into daily patient care; this paradigm shift leads to a definition of who the nurse is, not what the nurse does (Bark et al., 2015).


I hope you find these examples useful as you ponder the question “How might coaching fit into the healthcare setting?”


Diane Shaver, RN, MSN, NC-BC is a Registered Nurse and a graduate of the Wisdom of the Whole Coaching Academy. Diane has over 35 years experience in caring for adults and children in acute care hospitals and community health settings with a focus on patient education, health promotion, and holistic nursing.




Bark, L. (2015). Nurse coaching is not what I do: it informs who I am. Beginnings 35(4):18-20.

Garcia, R. (2015). Pilot study of the efficacy of empowering patients through coaching as a complementary therapy in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Neurologia pii: S0213-4853(15)00169-3.

Gazelle, G. (2015). Physician burnout:  coaching a way out. Journal of General Internal Medicine 30(4):508-13.

Maskey, C. (2009). Cognitive coaching has an exciting place in nursing education. Journal of Teaching and Learning in Nursing 4, 63-65.

McGonagle, AK (2014). Coaching for workers with chronic illness:  evaluating an intervention.  Journal of Occupational Health Psychology 19(3):385-98.

Piamjariyakul, U. (2013). The feasibility of a telephone coaching program on heart failure home management for family caregivers. Heart Lung 42(1): 32 – 39.

Stuart-Mullen, L. (2015). Bringing nurse coaching to a cardiovascular health clinic Beginnings 35(4): 6-9.

Wolever, R. (2013). A systematic review of the literature on health and wellness coaching:  defining a key behavioral intervention in healthcare. Global Advances in Health and Medicine 2(4): 38 – 56.



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  • I like that you mentioned how coaching over the phone is a cost effective way to increase confidence. Those who may be new to nursing and not have a lot of experience could really benefit from this. It is nice to know that it is offered.