What it Takes to Elevate Healthcare Leaders through Coaching

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Coleen Santa Ana, MHA, is our guest on the Healthcare Experience Matters Podcast this week, where she explores why executive coaching is becoming increasingly important in the healthcare industry.

As an Executive Coach with the Healthcare Experience Foundation, Coleen brings over 20 years of healthcare executive leadership experience to the table.

In today’s podcast, Coleen details the distinctive nature of coaching, emphasizing its separation from consulting. Coaching focuses on asking thought-provoking questions rather than providing direct solutions.

Coaching helps the individual’s or team’s thinking process. The thought-provoking nature of coaching serves several purposes, including:

  • Self-discovery.
  • Problem-solving.
  • Ownership of Solutions.

Coleen aptly describes the challenges of leadership in healthcare, noting that it can be “lonely at the top.” The difficulties healthcare leaders face are only getting more complex in the years following the COVID-19 pandemic and the Great Resignation.

Executive coaching provides a unique opportunity for leaders to have a thought partner, someone to bounce ideas off of and collaboratively work through challenges. Leaders often have solutions within them, and coaching serves as a catalyst to bring these solutions to the forefront.

Coleen’s passion for healthcare and patient care is evident as she shares a personal story about her experience as a hospital president. She emphasizes the rewarding aspect of cultural transformations, highlighting the importance of the ever-changing and emotionally demanding nature of ensuring a thriving patient experience.

While coaching is extraordinarily important for executives, it is not limited to the C-Suite; everyone in  healthcare can benefit from it. The emotionally demanding nature of caring for patients makes a life coach perspective crucial, assisting individuals in maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

Moreover, with healthcare being a team sport, effective communication and interpersonal skills are essential for everyone, and coaching can play a pivotal role in fostering these skills.

Coleen’s insights provide a valuable glimpse into the world of executive coaching in healthcare. As the industry continues to evolve and face unique challenges, the role of coaching becomes increasingly vital in nurturing effective leaders, fostering teamwork, and ultimately delivering patient-centered care.

Healthcare professionals at all levels can find inspiration from a coach and should consider the benefits of incorporating coaching into their own professional development.

Throughout the conversation, she shares practical examples and real-world anecdotes, offering a nuanced understanding of the challenges faced by healthcare professionals today and why coaches play such an important role.

Coleen’s interview provides actionable insights for leaders at various levels in healthcare. Simply put, executive coaching matters, and it can shape a more resilient and patient-centric healthcare ecosystem moving forward.

More HX Matters Podcasts

Our podcast is dedicated to transforming the health care experience so that every person can receive and deliver the best care.

You can subscribe to our podcast for free on all major podcast platforms and for video of our interviews, you can always check out the Healthcare Experience Foundation (HXF) on YouTube. Catch up on all episodes of our podcast by subscribing and following us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Amazon Music and more.

Meet Coleen Santa Ana, MHA

Coleen Santa Ana, MHA, is a US Healthcare Executive with over 20 years in the industry. Coleen served as a Hospital President for the Sentara Healthcare system after progressively promoting through the for-profit organizations HCA and UHS starting as 15-yr old hospital volunteer to ultimately the President title by the age of 34.

She has a mix of industry experience in nonprofit and for-profit executive leadership and operations, mergers & acquisitions, integrations, and turnaround work. Some of her significant achievements include moving a Hospital from a Leapfrog D rating to an A rating as well as a financial transformation from 10 years of consecutive losses prior to her arrival to a positive margin within her first year.

She is recognized in the US healthcare industry as a Modern Healthcare Up & Comer, Inside Business – Women in Business Celebrant, an Empowerment Awardee as well as seated on multiple Boards. She also contributes nationally, she was appointed to the American Hospital Association Equity of Care Committee and served as Chair for two years. Ms. Santa Ana formerly served on the Virginia Commonwealth University’s Board of Visitors, United Way Women’s United 10 for 10 Class of 2020, Tocqueville Society Member and graduate of the CIVIC Leadership Institute, Intermountain Leadership Institute, AHA Institute for Diversity in Health Management Program and is a certified John Maxwell Team Member (leadership coach).

Connect with Coleen Santa Ana, MHA