Case Study
Case Study for coaching healthcare professionals and teams.

Our CHA Learning Team Coaching Story

By Dale Schierbeck
Vice President, Learning & Development
CHA Learning / HealthCareCAN


If you manage people and budgets, ask yourself these questions: What is the best way you can invest in our people and teams? What can you spend money on that will have the greatest return on impact?

Every year, most managers of people will have numerous opportunities to invest in their people and operations. And I’m guessing that over the course of my own career, I’ve had a couple hundred such opportunities myself. But few such investments have ever been as profound and produced such a remarkable return on investment as the money I committed to Team Coaching last year – and it is certainly the best money I’ve ever approved for team or professional development in my whole career. 

Let me set the context for this story. At HealthCareCAN, I lead the organization’s professional development division, CHA Learning. Pre-pandemic, our CHA Learning team was small but mighty and consistently overachieved, producing amazing results. By all definitions, it was a high-performing and high-functioning team with incredible camaraderie, heart, and cohesion.  

However, the past 3-plus years of the COVID pandemic have not been easy on most people, teams or organizations. So come March 2020, things changed and our CHA Learning team didn’t escape the stresses, uncertainty and change of this period either. We underwent our own workplace pivot, experienced staffing turnover, and experienced the challenges I’m sure most of you share of hiring and onboarding new members to the team – and discovered the new challenges of doing so virtually. At the same time, our online distance education, gained significant traction as if it had been made for purpose and as everyone discovered the secret of online education. In short, while many organizations struggled early on in the pandemic with how to survive, our business began to thrive.  

At the same time, I made the decision for us to also double-down during this period and gained support from our HealthCareCAN Board to bolster our operations and make generational investments and improvements. To say it was a stressful and busy time for the team would be an understatement. And so two years into the pandemic, a once mighty team had grown weary, less connected, and more individualized. 

Our CHA Learning leadership team knew it was becoming critical that we slowed down and shift from investments in systems and courses to an investment in our people. I believed the team needed a reset, and a safe place to clear the air of apprehensions, rumors, and assumptions and rebuild its connections and trust in one another.

While I have long been a huge advocate in the belief that coaching needs to be part of a multifaceted organizational, leadership and learning and development strategy, I was limited in my thinking that it was something reserved for individuals. Then, last spring, as part of the launch of our new The HQ podcast, I had the pleasure to interview Amanda Bjorn (a senior health leader I have known for several years) on the value and relevance of coaching and our conversation turned to team coaching. A light bulb went on for me as I thought about how we might benefit from Amanda’s coaching approach and how this could be applied to our own CHA Learning team.  

I sought commitment from HealthCareCAN’s executive for a small budget to do this. Next, my directors and I met with Amanda and set the goals and groundwork for a coaching series for our team. What followed from this backstory was 5 virtual sessions delivered over 6 months, to a team of 10. And, yes, to be clear, the whole team, people managers and myself included, all participated equally. 

The results were, as I say, amazing.  

Amanda created a safe environment where we all got to be vulnerable, share what was on our minds. To each session, we openly brought and shared our emotional states, and in the process we all got to know each other a bit more. We had to be authentic, present, and share. We got to hear and see different perspectives – quite literally, we looked at “messy” images and discussed what we each saw. Importantly, we had to slow down … really slow down … and we had to listen. That may not sound like a lot, but for an overachieving team that was used to multi-tasking and going at full speed, it was a huge change in habit.  

Indeed, many came to these virtual sessions (we used Zoom for the sessions) just finishing up a meeting or another task and so several felt stressed in adding one more meeting to our already busy schedules. At check in – the team expressed how they were feeling which often included words like “stressed,” “anxious,” “busy,” and “overwhelmed” – and often it was also about what emotions and thoughts we were bringing to work from home and life. At check out – people expressed completely different feelings even though the busyness and work was still there. 

By dealing with hard things facing each other and our team as a whole, we rebuilt trust as a team. We critically built supports – a resource for each of us. We collaborated, learned together, and solved problems together. We laughed together and supported one another. And we could see the darkness and anxieties lift from the start of session to the end. Over the course of each 60-90 minute session, we could all feel and hear the energy in the group and individuals change. And before my own eyes, I saw individuals transform and grow … with several emerge as new leaders with confident voices who hadn’t always shared as readily before. And, as whole and as individuals, the team grew stronger and more resilient.  

All of this we did with intention. And we did this in less than 8 hours total.  

A few months later, as part of an in-person, year-end team building event and celebration, the team reflected on the singular successes and achievements for themselves, CHA Learning, and HealthCareCAN in 2022 by sharing sticky notes so we could see them all collectively. 

Several team members pointed to our coaching series as THE team success. Five months later, we’ve had incredible highs and more successes but also endured more transitions and changes (and even positive change can be difficult) and new team members and all the uncertainty and adaptation that comes with change. But through all of it, the team remained united, positive, and we still delivered several new milestones and achievements in our first quarter of this year. 

Are we done growing? No. We have committed to having Amanda return in 2023 for a tune up or two with the team as we continue to navigate change and uncertainty, but I dare say, the team has a new confidence and bond that continues to grow as we overcome these challenges – importantly – together.  

And bonus of bonuses, these individuals are bringing the coaching mindset to other parts of their work, other people, teams and cross-functional projects. They are being coach-like with our students who bring new unexpected challenges every day and they are also bringing it to other colleagues who didn’t go through this with us … yet. In sum, I would posit that they are creating a culture change.  

As a learning and development professional who has made a career out of helping organisations to develop and helping people to grow to their full potential, I have never witnessed anything more transformative than 8 hours of team coaching. 

And all the beliefs I had in the power of coaching as an enabler for change and growth and allowing people to truly thrive were exponentially reinforced for me. 

That is why I was so keen for CHA Learning to partner with Amanda to bring this team coaching model to healthcare teams and organizations across Canada because, as most teams emerge from what I hope has been the worst of the pandemic, many are battle weary, disheartened, and hurt. At the same time, there are the calls for creating more psychological safety, investing in mental health and wellness, fostering a culture of equity, diversity, and inclusion, developing more and better leaders, and inspiring all leaders to take on a massive health system transformation. The one thing that can enable all those things and much more is coaching and team coaching in particular. 

So, if you perhaps assumed, as I did previously, that coaching is something we do to or for individuals, please read this story as affirmation that team coaching is actually a leadership development tool, it’s a model for transforming and building teams, and it is something you can do to prevent dysfunction. You don’t have to be in crisis to administer this panacea – rather, I would argue, a healthy dose of team coaching will actually help you avoid a crisis of culture and people as it behaves a bit like a vaccine in building team resilience and strength to withstand future threats and stressors.


Dale Schierbeck
VP Learning & Development
CHA Learning / HealthCareCAN


When you hear the word, “Coaching” what comes to mind? What does it mean to be a coach? And, more importantly, what does it mean in healthcare? Amanda joined CHA Learning/HealthCareCAN‘s podcast serial The HQ as a special guest to talk about the role of coaching in staff and organizational development. Have a listen!

About CHA Learning’s Team Coaching Services

Team Coaching can be used to help teams cope with change, build relationships, strengthen connections because of remote work or turnover, cope with stress, and enhance performance. The team coach can help you identify your needs and the team coaching approaches to achieve your team goals.

Team coaching:

  • Propels the team forward by identifying challenges and creating solutions for improvement
  • Evokes self and team learning
  • Fosters psychological safety within the team
  • Helps the team cope with change and ambiguity
  • Creates a forum to discuss team dynamics
  • Explores specific team concerns and issues to gain multiple perspectives
  • Forges new support networks
  • Builds professional and personal resilience together
  • Builds the base for more significant equity, diversity and inclusion in teams
  • Strategically enhances the climate and culture of the organization


Learn More About Team Coaching Services


Collaborating With Healthcare Organizations for Over 70 Years

As Canada’s only national online healthcare learning provider, we are proud to support our members and others in developing and delivering high quality online programs to meet their needs quickly and professionally in an environment of trust and respect.

Are you interested in partnering or collaborating with us to increase your organizational development capacity in delivering professional development to your teams? Please Contact us, we’d love to hear from you.