Unlocking Leaders’ Potential

CareSource, one of the largest public sector managed care companies in the United States partners with ICF (International Coaching Federation) to deliver Leadership Transition Coaching (LTC) to CareSource executive team.


Based in Dayton, Ohio, USA, CareSource is a nonprofit organisation that fills a unique niche in the health care sector. As one of the largest public-sector managed care companies in the United States, CareSource serves more than 1.3 million consumers and employs more than 1,800 people.

“Our vision is to transform lives through innovative health and life services,” says Jackie Smith, vice president of CareSource University, the organisation’s training arm. “Our mission is to make a lasting difference in our members’ lives by improving their health and well-being, and we do that by providing health care benefits and services.”

Organisations like CareSource must adapt rapidly to the United States’ dynamic health-care environment. “We see changes within the industry and within our business every day,” Smith says.

These changes have prompted rapid growth at CareSource. In the last half-decade, the organisation has grown by more than 57 percent of its total employee population and encountered new challenges posed by a growing cadre of mobile employees. As the organisation supports this growth by adding new leaders – both by hiring externally and promoting from within – coaching has become a cornerstone of its talent-development strategy.

CareSource has long boasted a robust training program via university structure emphasising performance management, leadership development and succession planning. However, as the organisation grew, so did the demand for training.

“We had formal training in place for our first-time leaders, but they could go three months before they actually attended their formal training,” says International Coach Federation (ICF) Professional Certified Coach Matt Becker, M.Ed., coaching and mentoring manager for CareSource. The organisation needed an individualised modality to supplement existing training offerings. Coaching offered an elegant solution.

As the organisation supports its growth by adding new leaders, coaching has become a cornerstone of its talent-development strategy.

ICF defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximise their personal and professional potential. Coaches honour the client as the expert in his or her life and work and believe that every client is creative, resourceful and whole. The coaching process empowers clients to dramatically improve their outlook on work and life, while improving their leadership skills and unlocking their potential.

In January 2009, Smith and Becker took a proposal for Leadership Transition Coaching (LTC) to CareSource’s executive team members, who embraced it enthusiastically. CareSource’s CEO, Pamela Morris, was an especially vocal supporter of LTC from day 1, Smith says.

Although support for LTC emanated from the top, down, the initiative itself has a bottom-up structure designed to reach new managers and leaders. The structure of LTC engagements (which typically span six months) enables new leaders to address their challenges in a tailored way. The first three sessions are designed to help clients clarify their goals and desires for the engagement, with Becker asking questions about the vision they have for their legacy, their objectives for their team and/or department, and their own expectations for the coaching relationship.

unlocking-leaders-potential-visual-webCoaching addresses the challenge of assimilating new leaders into CareSource’s culture head-on by empowering leaders with the goals they need for success and providing a safe space to explore issues and concerns. Becker cites one success story of a high-level director hired from outside the organisation who, after completing LTC, confided that she “would not have stayed with the organisation were it not for coaching.” LTC has been credited with an overall savings of $744,632 USD, an 18 percent increase in employee engagement and a return on investment of 211 percent.

Coaching addresses the challenge of assimilating new leaders into CareSource’s culture head-on by empowering leaders with the goals they need for success and providing a safe space to explore issues and concerns.

CareSource also measures LTC clients’ return on expectations. After clients identify their expectations for the coaching engagement, Becker asks them to use a 10-point scale to assess their confidence in achieving each goal. They’re then asked to repeat the exercise at the end of the engagement. Current ROE numbers show a 91 percent increase in leaders’ confidence in their ability to achieve their expectations after coaching.

Smith says one of the most powerful illustrations of LTC’s impact is the way coaching skills have been put into action across the organisation.

“When I’m doing three to four-month post-coaching evaluations, I often hear, ‘I now use the coaching questions that were used with me with my staff, and that’s making them more effective,’” Smith says. “Their personal goal for coaching may be to become more effective as a leader, but the longer-term effect is that they in turn are using these skills with their staff, thereby allowing them to be more effective and become more empowered.”

In 2014, CareSource was recognised with an honourable mention in the ICF International Prism Award program. In 2005, ICF Global adopted the Prism Award, a concept developed by ICF Toronto recognising businesses and organisations that demonstrate how professional coaching pays off on many fronts. The award represents the epitome of what professional coaching can accomplish within organisations of all sizes and in all sectors. To learn more about the Prism Award, visit Coachfederation.org/prism.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here