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Coaching Strategies Revisited and Ranked (IMO)

After 3 years of being a coach of the Flip the Pharmacy program in both Pennsylvania and West Virginia, much has changed. Community pharmacy has come a long way in just 3 short years, accelerated by a global pandemic, pharmacists as healthcare providers in the US has become a legitimate topic of national discussion in the main treat media.

I personally believe that the community provided by CPESN, and Flip the Pharmacy has had a lot to do with the rapid advancements we have seen across the country. Many pharmacists are beginning to change the way they think about the work they are doing and the value that is tied to it. When Flip the Pharmacy was about to launch its first cohort of the program, and I was still a resident, I must admit I wasn’t sure what the program would really look like in action. I wasn’t sure if other pharmacies would really get it. Yet here we are years later with soon to be four cohorts of “Flipping” Pharmacies across the country, taking this care over time model that Flip has introduced to the next level.

I was lucky enough to recently have my resident research project centered around coaching strategies in Flip the Pharmacy published as a brief report in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association. As a team we identified 5 coaching strategies elicited from semi-structured interviews with Flip participating pharmacy champions and coaches. Today, I wanted to rank those strategies, and leave my $.02.

5. Learn to use the eCare plan software of the pharmacy you are coaching.

This is a core concept as a coach. Without a comfortable understanding of the pharmacy’s eCare plan software, your meetings with champions are not likely to be productive. A credible coach is knowledgeable on these software platforms and keeps up with new advancements and features.

4. Realistic goal setting.

In order to be taken seriously, it is paramount to consider all factors that affect the workload of your champion and their staff. Heavy listening and learning up front can go a long way in helping to better understand what goals are realistic. The change packages are wonderful resources, but let us not kid ourselves, they can be equally overwhelming. Focus on what is most important, and achievable. Start small and build a strong foundation.

3. Adapt your communication to what is most preferable to your champion and their staff.

Coming in 3rd is communication, which is a must, and it must be done is a way that is palatable and useful to your champion and their staff. Establish this preference early on and stay consistent.

2. Engage pharmacy staff beyond your direct contact (the pharmacy champion).

This does NOT mean go over your champions head to engage with additional staff but find a way to get additional team members on board over the course of the program. This is not always possible early on, and that is okay. However, realize that overtime as you and your champion are working to implement any new service or change suggested in the monthly change packages, it will not be sustainable without involving additional staff.

1. Build TRUST.

Without a trusting relationship between you and your champion(s), strategies ranked 2 through 5 will wither not occur (in the case of #2) or be put to good use (3, 4, & 5). Researchers at the University of Iowa have also sought to identify ways coaching in the Flip the Pharmacy program can be improved. They have an article published in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association titled, “Evaluating the coaches’ experience in the Flip the Pharmacy program,” which I highly recommend reading for added insight on this topic.

Article Links:

Coaching Strategies for the Flip the Pharmacy Practice Transformation Initiative in Pennsylvania Independent Community Pharmacies

Evaluating the coaches’ experience in the Flip the Pharmacy program

Written on behalf of CPESN West Virginia by Flip the Pharmacy coach, Evan Turco, PharmD

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