DTA Coaching Community – Interview with Ashlee Fontenot

Ashlee photo resized

As you probably know by now if you follow our blogs, on the first Monday of every month DTA convenes a community of Care Team Coaches from across the country. The purpose of these calls is for coaches who all use DTA’s Coaching Reporting Tool to share notes and learn from one another on their coaching journeys. But our most recent call was a little bit different and we are excited to share with you our interview with Ashlee Fontenot, a Patient Experience leader who oversees a Care Team Coaching program. Ashlee is Manager of Patient Experience at El Camino Health in Mountain View and Los Gatos, California.

Here’s a look at what Ashlee had to share with the group.

DTA: Help us understand your role: is overseeing coaching your full-time gig or is it a component of your work? Tell us about your team makeup, how you determine coaching assignments, etc. Do you coach too?

AF: I am the manager and oversee the patient experience department for both of our hospital sites. I do not actually coach myself, but help organize and oversee the care team coaching work. We have standard work in place within the patient experience department to help with assignments and overall coordination of the program. Our fabulous administrative assistant works with the coaches, utilizing an email we created just for the care team coaching program. We are flexible with the coach’s schedule which I hope encourages them to sign up to do even more coaching sessions!

DTA: How do you keep your team fresh and grounded in the work that they are doing?

AF: I think what is unique for our group of coaches is their ability to share with one another. We do that through Quarterly Coaching Training Sessions that DTA leads to refresh skills and provide updates on current state, what is working well, what could be tweaked. The group is able to share these things with one another in this venue. We also try to get the group together monthly when we feel like there is content that needs to be addressed. What is neat about our group is that they share their stories with one another  which I think helps them feel more connected to one another and the program.  It’s not just about processes, but the feel good stuff too.

DTA: Whether it’s your own coaching experience or that of one of your team members, what is your favorite coaching story?

AF: My favorite coaching story didn’t actually happen during a coaching session. One of our coaches called me the other day and I could tell that she was almost in tears. My initial thought was “Shoot! Another fire to put out!” She was actually calling to tell me about a staff member that she witnessed with a patient. This staff member was sitting down and making that personal connection with one of his patients. Wow! What we are teaching and coaching on is working!!

DTA: Tell us about how you use the reporting feature of the Coaching Reporting Tool…(cohort profiles & heat maps)

AF: We are able to use these in a few different venues. Recently I have used these cohort profiles for trainings we have done for individual departments—we call them service excellence trainings. Before we do these trainings, we have the staff in that department go through Care Team Coaching. We then take the results from the cohort profile to focus on those areas for opportunities within that specific department. We also share the cohort profiles with our shared governance committees for them to help identify areas of opportunity within their own departments, as well as the patient experience steering committee. This is a great way to maintain the confidential nature of the coaching and also aggregate the data in a cohort format to allow us to easily spot areas of improvement.

DTA: What would you like other coaches and Patient Experience leaders to know?

AF: Care Team Coaching is always a work in progress. It’s about being flexible until you find that secret sauce that works for your department, the hospital, and your coaches.

DTA: Finally, who is this cutie in the picture with you?

AF: That’s Otis, my sidekick on a recent walk on one of our beautiful northern California beaches!

Thanks to Ashlee and all the participants of our monthly Coaching Community Calls! This format has been super helpful in collectively building the Coaching Community across the country.  You might even remember that we featured Rosalie Smith from Ashlee’s team a few months back in December.  If you missed it, check out her interview here. If you are interested in learning more about the DTA Coaching Reporting Tool (the use of which is common to all of the Coaches on these Community Calls), you’re in luck! Sign up to view a demo of DTA Healthcare Solutions’ Coaching Reporting Tool.


Pamela Hessler

We’ve helped clients across the country accelerate toward value-based healthcare delivery.

Let us do the same for you.