Rachel Francois, a physical therapist for more than 17 years, joined the Boston College online Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) program seeking to have a greater impact on the healthcare industry.

“I began working with the program’s executive coach and established my own personal goals, one of which was to pivot into a new role before I graduated,” said Rachel.

Executive Coaching

Athletes, entertainers, and industry executives often use skilled coaches to maximize professional performance and develop the skills and confidence necessary for success. At Boston College, students in the MHA program have access to a professional executive coach with 25 years of healthcare leadership experience to help them set personalized career goals and then execute against their own plans.

“Most — if not all — students in the program are working professionals who find it challenging to juggle their education demands with work, family, and other obligations,” explained Debra Doroni, executive coach for Boston College’s MHA program. “I help them discover and define their professional goals — their ‘desired state’ — and then develop an action plan that allows them to achieve that state.”

“The executive coach helped me succeed in achieving my goal within about four months!” said Rachel.  “She led me through a series of self-reflection exercises and guided me to appreciate my strengths, to market myself, and to discover ways to improve.”

Some students come to Debra seeking help with a single goal, only to realize their issues go much deeper. “Solutions usually require a wider, holistic approach that involves both one’s personal and professional life. Both are intimately connected. You can’t perform at your professional best if your personal life feels chaotic, and your personal life is bound to suffer if you are feeling frustrated or unfulfilled by your career. The goal is to take specific actions that allow one to complement the other.”

Personal Development

Professional coaching is significantly different from traditional mentoring, Debra is quick to point out. “Mentors are usually experienced professionals who take you under their wing, show you the ropes, and offer career advice based on what worked best for them,” she explained. “Coaches, on the other hand, are not interested in duplicating their own life experiences, but in helping you to look ahead and figure out what is going to work best for you.”

Rachel is an example of the exciting outcomes that can be achieved through coaching.

“I have started a new role as a Performance Improvement Project Manager for New England Quality Care Alliance (NEQCA). I will be working with physicians in the community on network integration, improving efficiency, guiding practices to set achievable goals and coordinating processes with initiatives to add value to the system,” said Rachel.

Debra recommends that the Boston College MHA students work with her weekly or every other week for a minimum of three months, explaining that it can often take that long for the student to establish a personal definition of success. The session format is often a series of extended questions and answers in which each answer leads to another, more incisive question or realization. “Coaching techniques are based on adult learning, positive psychology, and on neuroscience,” she noted. “The question-and-answer format literally rewires the brain so clients begin to think, behave, and react in different ways without conscious effort. This rewiring can be seen in clinical brain scans. And it’s why this service can be so valuable. The retraining clients experience is, for all intents and purposes, permanent.”

The Boston College MHA executive coach is part of a community of support that students in the program enjoy.

“Through my education,” said Rachel, “I was able to discover new areas of focus that supported my career goal for continued professional growth. My professors are all experts in their areas of instruction, and our curriculum is current and on the cutting edge of the healthcare changes that are going on in the United States.” She adds, “I am so appreciative of the MHA program at Boston College. I have gained a multitude of professional colleagues and friends that will last a lifetime!”

For more about Boston College’s MHA degree program, visit https://onlinemha.bc.edu/masters-in-health-care-administration/ or call 1-866-265-6008.