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Developing robust primary care practices — including those working to become medical homes — is central in the national debate on how to achieve patient-centered care, better outcomes, and lower costs. Redesign and transformation can be challenging for both small and large practices. Coaching of primary care practices has been an emerging strategy for assisting practices in the difficult journey or redesign and tailoring changes to local needs.  


Change is hard — especially transformational change. To succeed, practices must manage the human dynamics of change in their organization. Leadership and staff relationships change while doing the work of redesigning how care is delivered. Developing resilience in the face of these complex technical, emotional and relational tasks is an essential skill. To be effective, practice coaches have to address these human and organizational factors in addition to the technical changes in care delivery processes.   


IHI is pleased to offer a virtual professional development program designed to support coaches working in primary care practices develop their coaching effectiveness, The Primary Care Practice Coach Professional Development Program. This program will focus on the development of coaching skills as opposed to knowledge and skills in the technical areas of redesign content knowledge and quality improvement. 


The goal is for participants to increase their understanding of key concepts and methods essential for effective coaching. In addition, participants will have increased confidence with  the concepts and methods as they think through application in their own case situations.


The concepts and methods include:

  • Diagnosing practice context relative to meeting the demands of change successfully

  • Understanding the human dynamics of change for organizations and individuals and types of skillful responses

  • Maintaining a results orientation while dealing with the human, technical, and organizational issues

  • Distinguishing between different types and strategies of coaching interventions such as training vs. consultation vs. coaching

  • Recognizing change management issues office practices face and possible methods of intervention

  • Managing self in the midst of complex emotions and relationships and developing a practice of peer consultation


Participants will receive:

  • A connected community of office practice coaches, working and learning together for an 11-month period

  • A resource-rich library of materials related to office practice improvement, quality improvement, and coaching practice

  • A Kick Off event and twice monthly phone calls providing an opportunity to learn together about concepts, tools, skills and knowledge and application in actual coaching situations brought by the participants

  • Individual action plans for development as a coach-utilizing the activities of the community, as well as self-directed personal development and learning

What Past Participants are Saying


"It was surprising to see the (apparent) huge gains I seemed to have made in some areas. Upon reflection, it’s clear that the gains are more related to acquiring theory, models, and language for describing coaching work and challenges that I was very familiar with in practice but was lacking in conceptual frameworks to describe, analyze and address more clearly. So to a great extent, I didn’t know what I knew!"


- Juliana Anastasoff, Health Extension Agent, University of New Mexico


“I have started work with a new client and have been able to use new learning in setting up the engagement and now working with the client through the early phases of the work around the issue of them passing the “project” to a staffer who has limited authority and for whom the scope of the work would be way too broad. This is important because the leader is waffling about the need for alignment within leadership and about stating expectations clearly for everyone so that all staff understand the mandate.  I believe this is essential if the woman who has been given the mandate to make it happen is to have any chance of succeeding.”


- Regina M. Neal, Primary Care Development


Program Benefits


As a result of this program, participants will be able to:

  • Recognize change management issues impacting successful achievement of results

  • Identify new choices for coaching interventions by thinking through these concepts and skills in discussions of their own situations

  • Identify new areas for ongoing personal development as a coach\

  • Access a resource library of materials related to office practice improvement and quality improvement

  • Develop individual action plans for ongoing learning as a coach

Program Focus​


Effective coaches play many different roles when facilitating change in a practice, including content expert, change agent, consultant, and quality improvement expert.  The program will focus on the skillful use of these roles, with an emphasis on how to tailor coaching interventions to the situation, manage the complex human side of change, and communicate effectively throughout the practice. 


Program Design


Participants will become part of a connected community of office practice coaches, supported by expert faculty, working and learning together for 11 months through a variety of activities. These include a Kick-Off event, twice monthly conference calls to present content and explore ac participant coaching situations, parallel learning activities, ongoing discussions via listserv, and an Extranet for sharing resources.