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Client Profile & Challenge

  • Organization: A nationally recognized academic medical system known for its clinical excellence, research, medical training, and patient-centered care. It includes 10 hospitals and 200 outpatient care sites across the New York City metropolitan area.

  • Coachees: So far, 120 leaders have been certified. More cohorts are added every six months. They include faculty, physician leaders, nursing and clinical leaders, business leaders.

When this major academic medical center wanted to create a coaching culture, it turned to TLS Leaders. This healthcare system runs one of the largest residency and fellowship training programs in the United States. So, it required a coaching partner that knew how to provide sophisticated training to its medical faculty and business leaders at scale.

A coaching culture improves the way that employees interact with each other and the interactions that they have with customers and the community. It creates an environment of psychological safety, where people:

  • Feel empowered to express themselves

  • Freely give and receive feedback

  • Challenge and hold each other accountable in direct but supportive ways

  • Support each other’s growth

  • See failure as a learning opportunity

  • Expand each other’s thinking, driving creativity, learning and innovation

  • Feel empowered to express themselves

  • Freely give and receive feedback

  • Challenge and hold each other accountable in direct but supportive ways

  • Support each other’s growth

  • See failure as a learning opportunity

  • Expand each other’s thinking, driving creativity, learning and innovation


Building a coaching culture takes time and a steady effort. It requires an intentional focus on shifting unwritten rules, norms, values and behaviors across an organization. We recommended building an internal bench of leadership coaches and involving key influencers. Once these influencers experienced the power of coaching, they could make the case for changing the medical system’s culture.

Psychological Safety is defined as a climate in which people are comfortable being (and expressing) themselves. Medicine has a long history of using a command-and-control style of leadership. Cultivating a psychologically safe, coaching culture involves more than simply offering coach training and a lot of leadership coaching.

Evolving leaders’ mindsets and behaviors requires a seismic shift in the way that leaders see themselves, their role, and their employees.

A Coach Certification Program

TLS Leaders built a cohort-based Coaching Certification Program (CCP) based on the International Coaching Federation’s (ICF) Standards of Competency.

  • It required nomination by the leader’s leader and a signed agreement to commit the time and presence necessary by each participant.

  • Each cohort of 15 leaders participated in 72 hours of experiential training and hands-on coaching over the course of six months.

  • At the end of the program, Certified Internal Coaches agreed to conduct two coaching engagements a year under the supervision of a certified leadership coach and to use their coaching behaviors on-the-job, with their teams.

A Curriculum Based On Best Practices for Developing Leaders

TLS Leaders uses the research-backed, 70-20-10 model of adult learning to create sustainable growth experiences. It is the optimal balance between sources of learning. The CCP curriculum was designed based on these key learning principles.

70% Of Learning Was Through Real, Hands-On Coaching Experiences:
Hands-on, practice-based learning has the greatest impact on lasting growth. Participants were required to coach each other by conducting at least one real-life coaching session between learning sessions. They practiced establishing trust, using coaching presence and the myriad of skills, approaches, models and processes required to hold effective coaching sessions.

20% Of Learning Was Through Developmental Relationships:
Each CCP participant experienced four months of intensive leadership coaching with a seasoned executive coach. They learned, first-hand, what it was like to be coached. This experience built empathy and a keen awareness about how to support their clients as a coach.

Each leadership coaching engagement included:

  • Assessment + Debrief: Using 360° Assessment, DiSC and EQ-I 2.0.

  • An Individual Coaching Action Plan: was created by each participant with specific, relevant, time-based goals and success measures.

  • Two, 3-Way Alignment meetings: These meetings were held at the beginning and at the end of the engagement between the participant, TLS Leaders executive coach and the participant’s leader to check on the participant’s growth and ensure organizational alignment.

    • Eight, 1-Hour Coaching Sessions: Personalized, bi-weekly coaching sessions for four months raised self-awareness, enabled each participant to reflect and experiment with mind-sets, leadership skills and approaches.

    10% Of The Curriculum Was Formal Group Learning:

    Custom designed, learning sessions taught modern, evidence-based coaching methodologies. The sessions were designed based on the International Coaching Federation’s competencies.

    • Eight sessions focused on learning essential coaching theories and models. The mornings were dedicated to interactive small group discussion, case studies, video reviews, teach-backs and role-plays.

    • Afternoons were dedicated to intensive skill practice where participants experienced being coached, coaching others, giving and receiving feedback on their coaching application. This approach also fed into their experiential, hands-on learning.


    The CCP has been a high success for the organization. 120 leaders have been certified with eight cohorts of 15 leaders graduating. Additional cohorts are added on an ongoing basis.

    The initial benefits on the healthcare system’s culture were:

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    A Significant Increase In Psychological Safety

    12 clinical practices reported a range of 72% to 85% greater psychological safety, noted by the following factors:

    • More Open Conversation. The degree to which difficult and sensitive topics are discussed willingly and openly.
    • Greater Willingness To Help. The degree to which people are willing to help each other.
    • More Belonging. The degree to which you can be yourself and are welcomed for this.
    • A More Positive Attitude Toward Risk & Failure. The degree to which it is permissible to make mistakes. One is not punished for making or reporting a mistake. Mistakes are seen and used as learning opportunities.
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    Greater Transparency And Feedback

    More positive and constructive feedback was being shared between leaders and employees and vice versa. This growth pattern created a positive ripple effect, leading to greater clarity on performance goals, deeper trust between the leaders and their teams and greater transparency between all employees.

    Participant Evaluations Based On Eight Graduating Cohorts

    100% would recommend the coaching certification program and leadership coaching services to others

    100% acquired new knowledge, skills and personal growth

    98% felt more prepared for difficult conversations in the workplace

    100% are motivated and equipped to develop the people they lead through coaching conversations

    Glowing Reviews From Participants

    The internal coach certification program was career- and life-changing for me. It helped me to really see the value that leadership coaches bring to a leader’s and company’s growth. The sessions were thought-provoking, and the practice was incredible. It has also changed how I lead my teams at work, opening up the lines of communication for greater clarity and collaboration.

    — Vice President Of Nursing & Trained Coach

    The practice sessions that we had in class and in between sessions helped me feel comfortable and prepared to coach both my colleagues as a trained coach and to use a coaching approach with my direct reports. This was my first experience having an executive coach as well and the impact was so valuable. The TLS Leaders Executive Coach really got to know me so she could challenge me to expand my perspectives and actions on how I lead myself and others.

    – Vice President Of Population Health & Trained Coach

    Being able to rely upon TLS Leaders to design and roll-out this program was immeasurable. They were trustworthy partners with a wealth of knowledge about coaching and how to teach others to coach. The training sessions captured and held my attention. The coaching I experienced with my leadership coach was eye-opening. Most importantly, we now have a quality bench of internal leadership coaches that we can rely upon to help us continue on our path of building a strong coaching culture.

    – Chief Operating Officer & Trained Coach

    My leadership coach challenged me in ways that truly helped to me to grow as a leader at a time when I needed the support. I was just promoted to head up the largest practice in our health system and was under a lot of pressure to transition and perform quickly. My coach helped to guide me through this transition by giving me the space to learn my strengths and areas to develop. He helped me to present my ideas in more compelling ways to my Chair and I feel much more prepared to be successful in my new role.

    – Group Practice Administrator & Trained Coach

    Partner With Us

    Contact us to create a customized coaching solution that will help you deepen your leaders’ impact and create a culture of coaching. We also offer high impact leadership development solutions designed to help your organization and leaders thrive.