DTA Coaching Community – Interview with Marie Kopp

Marie Kopp

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.  On our most recent call, we were able to feature an interview with Marie Kopp.  Marie is a Customer Experience Coach at North Memorial Health in Robbinsdale, Minneapolis.

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

DTA: First things first: why patient experience and coaching?  What drew you to this line of work?

Marie Kopp: I have been a nurse for almost 15 years. I was a bedside nurse in various units, but my longest stint was in an Emergency Department. I have been a charge nurse, a supervisor, and a director, but something was always missing. I had a passion for helping my fellow team members.

I decided to leave nursing and I pursued a Master’s in Organizational Leadership thinking I could help more by developing stronger leadership in management. My goal was to become a Leadership Coach, but I found a posting by North Memorial Health for a Customer Experience Coach I couldn’t pass up. I was intrigued by their passion for improving relationships with their customers and I felt that the positive coaching environment would be beneficial to the team members with a direct benefit to customers.

DTA: Tell us about your most memorable or most difficult coaching experience.

MK: My most memorable coaching is also my most difficult. We coach team members one unit at a time. I was starting my first coaching session for this unit when a nurse approached me and asked if I was “one of those coaches” because she had concerns. She was very defensive and stated she didn’t agree with the fact that we were allowed to shadow them because of the sensitive nature their customers were coming to them for.

By this time, she was pretty angry and had raised her voice as a small crowd of her peers gathered. I listened and tried to reassure her that we were trained in HIPAA the same as they were. But she wasn’t having it. I thanked her for sharing her concern with me and assured her that her concerns were valid. I asked that she speak to her manager about her concerns. She was satisfied with that as I turned to find the RN I had planned to coach.

I wasn’t expecting to be confronted like that and I was a little shaken up but determined to continue my session that night. A few weeks later I returned to coach that same nurse who confronted me that first day on that unit. Coaching went well and she even commented that she forgot that I was even in the rooms with her. As I went through her debrief and all her strengths she started crying, “happy tears.” She thanked me. She stressed that they don’t get to hear all the good things that they do day after day. She said I hit on so many things she did well but also some she didn’t realize she did well. She asked for a hug as I left and thanked me and added that this coaching was something she really needed.

I ran into her the next day as she was leaving work and she thanked me again and said that shift was one of the best shifts she had in a long time.

DTA: What advice would you give to a new Care Team Coach?

MK: I’ve learned that being coached or shadowed can make the staff feel vulnerable. Much like our customers and patients that come in to be seen. When I sense their apprehension or anxiety, I lean into our care practices and try to connect with them and gain their trust.

Something I have done to get comfortable with the Care Practices that we observe is to watch TV shows with a medical focus (Grey’s Anatomy, New Amsterdam, etc.). While I watch the show, I find myself watching the characters and determining what Care Practices they are using and if they are doing it well or could use some coaching.  It helped me get more comfortable.

Thanks to Marie and all participants of our monthly Coaching Community Calls! This format has been super helpful in collectively building the Coaching Community across the country.  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! Right now we’re offering a special promotion: Be one of the first 25 people to sign up to view a demo of DTA Healthcare Solutions’ Coaching Reporting Tool by January 31st to receive a free copy of “Beyond CAHPS: A Guide for Achieving Patient- and Family-Centered Care.” This book provides healthcare providers with the knowledge they need to construct a top-notch patient experience and uses data to effectively illustrate current progress and identify improvements and goals.

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Pamela Hessler

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