Building a Coaching Culture at HEALTHSOUTH

Thursday, July 9, 2015

ATD Excellence in Practice Award Winner 2014 HealthSouth Corporation, based in Birmingham, Alabama, needed a way to accelerate the performance of its employees.  

The solution was to foster a coaching culture that responded to changing company needs and strategies and could help who employees with the performance, competence, experience, and aspirations to grow, develop, progress, and succeed within the company.

The program, Building a Coaching Culture, was designed as an agile, flexible, multifaceted, and evolving practice that could affect employees at different levels of the organization. Tools, training, and resources were provided to ensure employees had what was needed to be successful. The goals were to:

  • develop employees to perform at their highest potential in their current role
  • build bench strength and a pipeline for filling future openings
  • create a culture of engagement and high-performing employees
  • retain the brightest and the highest-performing employees.

The initial practice concept started in 2009. Each prong of the three-pronged practice was implemented at different times, starting with a leadership coaching program that certified internal coaches using an external vendor. Initially seven coaches were certified during 2009, and six to seven internal coaches have been certified in each subsequent year. In 2010, coaching training was developed for all managers at the corporate office and within the hospital system who had direct reports. The training covered coaching techniques and how to apply them to employees’ performance and career development.

In 2012, the structure for executive coaching was incorporated to meet the request of the company’s board of directors. Delivered by an external supplier, the coaching helped executives perform strongly in their roles and develop identified successors.

The ATD Excellence in Practice Awards program recognizes results achieved through the use of practices and solutions from the entire scope of talent development. ATD is now accepting applications for the 2015 awards. Learn more about the ATD Excellence in Practice Awards program.

About the Author

Ryann K. Ellis is an editor for the Association of Talent Development (ATD). She has been covering workplace learning and performance for ATD (formerly the American Society for Training & Development) since 1995. She currently manages ATD's Community of Practice blogs, as well as ATD's government-focused magazine, The Public Manager. Contact her at 

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