Creative coaching program bolsters support for senior living community leaders

16 June 2020

In a creative response to the leadership challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, Brookdale Senior Living Inc. saw the potential in a donation offer from Executive Coaching Connections (ECC) and acted quickly. The result was a successful pilot program that provided support and professional development to 32 Brookdale Executive Directors across the country.

Knowing that the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged senior living associates beyond what most have ever experienced, Brookdale has taken a number of steps to support its workforce. So, when Chicago-based Executive Coaching Connections (ECC) offered assistance from its global network of professional coaches, Brookdale saw this as an opportunity to widen its support specifically for community leaders.

“Our Executive Directors are doing an outstanding job of supporting their associates and residents, working to help keep everyone as safe as possible during these unprecedented times,” said Brookdale President and Chief Executive Officer Lucinda M Baier. “Many are dealing with their own personal stress, uncertainty, and challenges while continuing to lead their communities. So when ECC reached out with the generous offer to donate time from coaches in their global network, I was grateful for the opportunity for our Executive Directors to benefit from professional executive coaching during this challenging time.”

The offer was initially made by Susan Madonia and Kathy Green, two of ECC’s partners. Madonia said, “Like so many businesses around the country and the world, our practice was quickly affected by COVID-19. Our coaches had extra time on their hands and, since we had a prior relationship with Brookdale, we thought of senior living as a place where we would be able offer help that would make an impact.” Green added, “We were thrilled that so many of our coaches immediately agreed to donate their time to work individually with Brookdale Executive Directors. The initial plan was for each coach to provide one situational sounding board session, but most of our coaches felt so good about supporting Brookdale’s Executive Directors during COVID-19, that they continued for two or three more sessions.”

This unique pilot program was offered in May and Brookdale will look for additional opportunities because of the positive feedback received, according to Diane (Lucy) Leeming, Brookdale’s Senior Vice President of Talent Management. “Those selected to participate in this program were very grateful for the opportunity,” said Leeming. “They were able to focus their confidential conversations on challenges such as stress, uncertainty, leading with vision and values, or gaining commitment. Or, they had the option to explore a specific challenge or scenario in their community.”

Erika Keegan, Executive Director at Brookdale Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, was deeply impressed by the experience. She said, “This was a game changing experience for me. I can’t tell you how meaningful it was to receive this support during this incredibly difficult time.”


About Brookdale Senior Living

Brookdale Senior Living Inc. is the leading operator of senior living communities throughout the United States.  The Company is committed to providing senior living solutions primarily within properties that are designed, purpose-built and operated to provide the highest-quality service, care and living accommodations for residents. Brookdale operates and manages independent living, assisted living, memory care and continuing care retirement centers, with 741 communities in 45 states and the ability to serve approximately 65,000 residents as of March 31, 2020.  The Company also offers a range of home health, hospice and outpatient therapy services to over 20,000 patients as of that date.

About Executive Coaching Connections

Executive Coaching Connections is a global community of over 170 experienced coaches, consultants, and C-Suite partners who are dedicated to building great leaders, teams, and organizations. It is a respected, global people and organizational development advisory firm that has successfully supported the biggest companies, public, private, and family-owned, and their most senior executives for 20 years. Their proprietary, 8-step coaching methodology incorporates a holistic approach proven to drive desired results.

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