April Miles had worked in senior leadership roles at East Hill Medical in New York for over five
years, including as the Chief Operating Officer and acting Chief Executive Officer. She was set
to be promoted to the permanent position of CEO, marking a major achievement in her career. To support her in this new role, the board offered April a coach to help ensure success for her and the organization. April, who had always been a lifelong learner, embraced the idea of coaching.
While April described herself as a generally confident person with a strong belief in her abilities, she admitted stepping into the CEO role presented a few minor jitters. April felt honing her skills would be beneficial to best prepare her to step into the role of leading a team of self-motivated executives and leaders, not only within her organization, but within the community as she served on more boards and chaired additional committees.
“I wanted to ensure I was the best leader I could be for our executive team and the community while maintaining my authentic leadership style and succeeding in growing the organization’s operating margin and geographic reach,” noted April. “To that end, my first two goals were to be more decisive in my communication and to exude confidence through a heightened executive presence. I came to these goals after talking openly with Liz about my strengths, fears and the values that led me on and have continued to keep me on this career path.”
“When a person leans into the coaching experience, they grow,” continued April. “The way they look at themselves and the world around them changes. Coaching allows them to navigate challenges through a new lens. The most wonderful outcome of coaching is learning about yourself and your own values and desires for why you do the work you do.”
April describes the coaching experience as “energizing” and felt it allowed her to bring the vision within her mind into reality through small, measurable steps. “The point of coaching isn’t to change someone,” stressed April. “It allows the person to see who they truly are. When people have confidence in themselves and their passion is reignited, they can move mountains for their organization!”
April is sold on executive coaching and has recommended the services to other CEOs and local leaders. She noted it is important for healthcare leaders and boards to invest in their leadership teams, giving them room to breathe.
“We’re coming out of a pandemic that altered how we all work and required many of us, especially those in healthcare, to work in higher acuity situations with even fewer resources,” said April. “Anecdotally, people are burned out and have been working in a burned-out state for years. I believe coaching is a technique that can be used to help reduce burnout and compassion fatigue. It has worked for me, and I’m seeing it work for others on my executive team.”
“When we live in an environment where capital, both monetary and human, are scarce, we get so caught up in the day-to-day fires that it keeps us at a standstill,” said April. “Months and years go by, and we look back and realize the vision of year’s past is still just a vision because we didn’t take the time to think past the daily hurdles.”
April explained she knew she was not alone as a leader who comes to work with a list of items to accomplish in the day and when 5 p.m. hits, those items are not crossed off the list. Through coaching, April realized she could shift her focus allowing her to see that she could work on the daily activities while realizing a larger vision, too.
Experiencing Joyful Growth
“Liz has a unique talent for taking a problem a leader has perseverated on for days, one that seems insurmountable, and in 10 minutes she is able to help a leader break down the problem and come to a solution,” said April, who added Liz has helped her do this numerous times.
“I’ve restructured my organization after one session with Liz and never second guessed my decision,” continued April. “Liz is extremely intuitive and the epitome of a coach. She assists a person to come to their own decisions in their own time and does it with grace. Plus, she can tackle several issues in one 60- to 90-minute session. We’ll get toward the end of our time and I’ll think, ‘darn, we didn’t get to talk about XYZ topic,’ and she’ll be able to move through to resolution in that short period of time,” noted April.
“Liz has a gift, and I’m so grateful she shares it with the world. She has helped me to grow, and I know she has helped countless others to grow as well.”