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Coaching Employees in American Nursing Homes

This paper outlines the processes I would follow as a nurse coach of a colleague, Nancy Anderson, who works as a nurse in Orchard Health Care – a nursing home in Alabama. She has been having a difficult time striking a balance between her personal and professional duties. This challenge has significantly hampered her productivity in the past year. The coaching steps outlined in this paper are recommended by Manion (2011) and provide the framework that I would adopt as a coach to guide her through her predicament.

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Determination of Intention

The purpose of coaching Nancy is to help her to learn and grow, both professionally and personally. By doing so, I expect that she will be more engaged and motivated to undertake her daily tasks. These goals are designed to improve her self-confidence and to equip her to recognize the leadership presence that is needed to undertake her duties. Another goal of the coaching process is to instill loyalty and commitment to her work by inspiring and motivating her. At the same time, I expect that the coaching process would help to improve her work/life balance.

Dossey and Hess (2013) say that nurse coaches who are skilled, purposeful, and results-oriented stand a good chance of possessing the goals, skills, and competencies needed to achieve the above goals. In line with this view, one of the skills that will be required of me, as a nurse coach, is to collaborate with Nancy in a thought-provoking process that will inspire her to unlock her potential through the pursuit of her professional and personal goals. Here, the skills required of me, as a nurse coach, are centered on co-creating a relationship with Nancy based on my ability to establish trust and intimacy with her. Naim and Lenka (2017) suggested that communication is an important skill needed in achieving this goal. Through such a skill, a nurse coach should always strive to be an active listener and communicate with their colleagues through effective questioning and direct communication (Manion, 2011). The main goal of mastering these skills is to maximize Nancy’s personal and professional potential.

Some of the key ways of engaging with Nancy that would yield some of the outcomes described above include giving employees regular and frequent feedback. As implied by Tyra (2008), it is also important to allow employees to accomplish their tasks by themselves. In other words, it is not up to the coach to do the work for them. In line with this recommendation, other strategies that I could employ when engaging with Nancy would be to be open to her ideas and encourage her to learn from others.

Assessing the Performer

According to Kanefield (2011), it is important for coaches to tap into employees’ strengths to improve their performance. Here, it is essential to point out that Nancy is flexible and has a keen attention to detail. Her level of development in her professional practice is “advanced beginner.” At this stage, she has demonstrated some acceptable performance in her work.

The leadership styles and interventions that would be instrumental in harnessing Nancy’s skills and competencies are centered on the democratic leadership style, which allows people to share their views and undertake their duties with autonomy (Lussier & Hendon, 2016). In other words, they are equipped to take responsibility for their actions and determine the outcome of their professional choices. This leadership style is appropriate for Nancy’s situation because she is flexible and has a keen attention to detail. Her flexibility means that she could accommodate diverse views, which is a key characteristic of the democratic leadership style. At the same time, her attention to detail means that when left alone, she could still excel in doing what she is supposed to (because she could learn and take responsibility for her decisions).

Clarifying Expectations and Parameters

Although it is essential for a nurse coach to help employees better their skills by aligning their strengths with their job opportunities, it is equally critical for both parties to have a clear understanding of their roles and expectations. My role as a nurse coach would be to apply a holistic and integrative health perspective on my interaction with Nancy to help her make important healthy changes that would influence her personal and professional lives positively. Another role that is required of me is to tweak the complex interrelationships between personal and professional work obligations to make sure that she finds satisfaction in her work (Manion, 2011). Comparatively, Nancy also has a role to play in the coaching process. First, she is supposed to be open-minded about the process. Secondly, she is supposed to be committed to the process by respecting it (Manion, 2011).

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Relative to the above goals, some learning opportunities that I could offer Nancy include providing her with challenging assignments (learning on the job), self-study (self-directed learning), public speaking opportunities, and an opportunity to attend a professional forum. Proving Nancy with challenging assignments and self-study opportunities should be considered a priority because both involve the internalization of the skills learned through coaching. After inculcating the same competencies in her personal and professional practice, the same skills can be exercised through the last two learning opportunities – the involvement of professional forums and guest speaking. The table below shows the specific objectives that will be achieved by pursuing each learning opportunity.

Table 1. Learning Opportunities and their Objectives.

Learning Opportunity Objective
Performing challenging assignments Learning on the job
Self-study Self-directed learning
Public speaking Self-directed learning
Participating in a professional forum Learn from other people and through self-directed learning

The best coaching practices that I would apply in the above exercise center on building a positive and trusting relationship with Nancy and the proper setting of goals so that we are both clear on what is expected of us. I choose to apply these coaching practices because they provide clarity to the process.

Carrying out the Coaching Intervention

Coaching Questions

Based on the goals and objectives of the coaching process outlined in this report, some of the main questions I would pose to Nancy include:

  1. What is your expectation of the coaching process if it were to be successful?
  2. What would you want to achieve if you did not have resource limitations?
  3. What are your current biggest problems, both professionally and personally?
  4. Do you consider yourself successful and what do you think has contributed to it?
  5. Do you consider having made mistakes and what are they?
  6. (Follow up question – Did you learn from them?)
  7. If your family member or friend were experiencing similar problems as you do, what would be your advice to them?
  8. Which step would you take right now that would indicate you are moving forward in your life?

One additional development opportunity that would help in addressing my intended coaching goals would be to assign an intern to Nancy and see how she would mentor her/him. The main objective of doing so would be to see whether she is able to apply the same skills that she has learnt.

Observing Performance

One of the key tasks I would have to complete in evaluating whether my coaching methods are effective, or not, is to assess whether the coaching methods have been effective, or not. To accomplish this goal, I would conduct a behavioral change assessment process, through a face-to-face interview with Nancy, after which I will assess her attitudes towards work and life. The justification for using this assessment method is hinged on the fact that the coaching process will only target one individual (Nancy). Therefore, other evaluation methods, which are not individual-based, such as surveys, may not be effective in this case. Consequently, the face-to-face interview is appropriate for this purpose.

Giving Feedback

The last step of the coaching process involves the administration of feedback. Again, because the coaching process is individual-based, feedback will be given to Nancy through verbal communication. The process would involve being direct when delivering the message and being sincere about the process. This recommendation aligns with the views of Naim and Lenka (2017) who encourages coaches to use person-to-person communication when giving feedback, as opposed to relying on technology to do the same.

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Based on the insights provided in this paper, the coaching process needs to be properly defined and its objectives understood by all parties to improve the odds of success. The six steps highlighted in this paper define my approach as a nurse coach that would not only help Nancy to strike a healthy balance between her personal and professional lives but also to act as a model for professionals from other fields to improve the productivity of their employees.


Dossey, B.M., & Hess, D. (2013). Professional nurse coaching: Advances in national and global healthcare transformation. Global Advances in Health and Medicine, 2(4), 10-16. Web.

Kanefield, A. (2011). Know your own strength. Smart Business St. Louis, 4(2), 6.

Lussier, R.N., & Hendon, J.R. (2016). Human resource management: Functions, applications, & skill development (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Manion, J. (2011). From management to leadership: Strategies for transforming health care (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Naim, M.F., & Lenka, U. (2017). How does mentoring contribute to generation Yemployees’ intention to stay? An Indian perspective. Europe’s Journal of Psychology, 13(2), 314-335. Web.

Tyra, S. (2008). Coaching nurses: A real example of a real difference. Creative Nursing, 14(3), 111–115.

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