June 29: Today on TownHall Karla Arzola, Chief Information Officer at Rocky Mountain Human Services speaks with Sarah Richardson, SVP and Chief Digital & Information Officer at Tivity Health. What were the key reasons for Sarah to become a professional coach and open her own coaching firm? How does it align with her goals and values? What are the main reasons people seek professional coaching, and how does the engagement with a coach help them achieve their goals? What are some key considerations and outcomes that individuals should have in mind when seeking professional coaching services? How can you build a circle of trust for mentorship?
"The Patient Experience - A Technology Perspective" is a live webinar that explores the intersection of healthcare and technology, focusing on enhancing the patient experience. As healthcare systems prioritize patient-centered care, leveraging technology becomes crucial. Join us on July 6th, 1:00 PM ET and join the discussion! Register Here. - https://thisweekhealth.com/leader-series-the-patient-experience-a-technology-perspective/
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Today on This Week Health.
I know I can send him like the weirdest question ever and be like, Hey, so this just happened in a meeting and he goes, yep, can't make it up. Can we? I'm like, Nope. You always boom. You feel better. Like there's somebody to share life with in these different scenarios. And so pay attention to those people who continuously show up and they show up the way that you need them to, not the way that you hope that they will
Welcome to TownHall. A show hosted by leaders on the front lines with interviews of people making things happen in healthcare with technology. My name is Bill Russell, the creator of This Week Health, a set of channels dedicated to keeping health IT staff and engaged. For five years we've been making podcasts that amplify great thinking to propel healthcare forward. We want to thank our show partners, MEDITECH and Transcarent, for investing in our mission to develop the next generation of health leaders now onto our show.
Hi, everybody. I am Carla Sola. Welcome to another segment for this week health. Today we have a super special guest for many, many reasons. She is not only a great executive, amazing executive, I should say she's been in the healthcare industry for quite a few years, but she's super young, but not. You know, I'm not I'm not even gonna go there.
And she is, a great friend of mine. She's my coach. She's an amazing human being. And I'm not just saying all these things just
because she's here in front of me, but I really
Sarah is one of my favorite people in the whole entire world, I should say that. So, Sarah Richardson, welcome to the show.
you. And you know, it's funny, because we both come from a background at HCA. One of the monikers of being there is good people beget good people. And it's absolutely true. You're one of my favorite humans. When we met, we just were like glue immediately. And it's always an honor to spend time with you virtually in person otherwise.
So thank you for inviting me down the show today.
Of course. No, thank you for the time. And Sarah, so you are currently, and I'm going to let you do the intro, but you're currently CAO of Tivity Health. And then you talk about HCA obviously that's a common ground that you and I have. But why don't you tell us a little bit about your, career?
Sure. What I love is you're like, Hey, she's young, but she's been doing this for a long time. I've actually been in I. T. For over 30 years. And the disconnect for me is especially like our end user support team or some of our users on our service desk. I could be their mom at this moment where I'm like, like, yes, ma'am.
I'm like, don't call me, ma'am. I'm cool. I'm young. I'm like, I'll be your mom at this point. And I appreciate, the ability to be able to connect to people at all ages because it keeps us young. It's how we think about the different spaces, but yes, I've been with tivity health for two years my anniversary was this week and Love it there.
I spent you know time with for profit not for profit Academic medical centers and physician groups and all these spaces of just different versions of health care And so when I joined tivity a couple years ago, I was like, oh gosh, I get to be right in the middle Of delivering care and the payer space because we are contracted by Medicare Advantage plans to deliver wellness and fitness benefits to Medicare Advantage enrollees by 18 million of them.
And we have other commercial business lines as well. So I could take all my years of everything I've ever done, do it at Tiviti, and then my background before healthcare was hospitality. I have a hospitality degree. It's my first degree. So being able to match everything all together, especially at this age, I actually tell people that I'm almost 50.
Because it's not about the ageism, it's about the experience you get from all the time we've spent in the trenches and how you bring it forward in new and special ways. And so I love being able to share those perspectives with people because I'm like, hey, guess what? You get 30 years. of digging through everything you could ever imagine helps you assimilate and think about things a little bit differently.
The more time you spend in those environments.
Yeah. And it's interesting that you mentioned that because you and I talked about your professional experience, right? And, and we're not going to talk about Tivity today. We're not going to talk about healthcare. We're going to talk about you being a coach.
You made that transition a couple of years ago and I want to learn why. And just because you have helped me so much, I want to share. My journey with you or do as a coach and tell us why it's important. you and I talked about why, you having all that experience and working in all this different industries had helped you, it helps you provide perspective, right.
To, to your mentees, I shall say. And so when do you decide to become a professional coach? How did that happen?
It happened for two reasons and in two different ways. So the number one reason is, as a servant leader, which we all endeavor to be, I'm hopeful all people endeavor to be a servant leader, we're always giving the perspective of how to be better, to have better self awareness, to have effective communication, to have executive presence, to have problem solving, all the things They go into being a great leader when you experience them, and then you give them back and you grow your teams.
My goal is always to become obsolete, that I'm not needed in an organization to work myself out of a job so that I give it to the next group of people on my team. And I have not been in a scenario where my successor hasn't gotten the role or the opportunity to be the next person. And that's by design.
It's kind of weird sometimes that when you share that perspective with your boss, and I'm lucky to have had really fantastic leaders, especially over the last few years that get that. Like you can't move up if someone can't replace you. And even if your next goal is not to move up, it may be to move to something different.
And having those conversations and the transparency around that is really, really important. So you're always coaching as a leader anyway. The formality of coaching has really come up. It's been around for about 20 or 30 years. In the last 10 to 5, especially 5 years, it's become very prolific. There is the ICF, the National Coaching Federation.
That is a place where you get your education, you get your certification, you do all of this work. Do coaches have to be educated and certified? No, but neither do CIOs. But do we have our CHCIOs? Of course we do. For me, I also have the formal training to be a coach and there's several levels and I'm right in the middle right now, continuing education and hours and whatnot.
I opened my own coaching firm, two reasons though, I was already doing it for free as I call it at work for my team. And then I realized there's this huge demand for my time. And there's a space that says, give time to people that need it. There's also a space that says, Don't give away all of your time for free.
And so I realized, and I was fired once by the way, and that was a huge eye opener and I helped support my family. Most of us do. We don't work for fun. Work can be fun, but that's not the only reason we do it. I needed an income source that would allow me to sustain my family, even if my day job wasn't.
Available at a given moment in time. So I also opened my coaching firm, not just to help people and be compensated for my time, but also as a backdrop for, I can still pay my bills and thrive as a human being, no matter what happens. So it's a secondary income. It keeps me active and motivated. I get exposed to all kinds of amazing people.
And then I have no fear in making great decisions in any. scenario because I know I'm not going to lose my home or be hungry or those types of things that tend to worry us when we have a period of unemployment as an example.
Yeah, I totally agree with you. And you know, you always tell me, yeah, you have to invest your time in the things that are important to you.
And and I know you don't take on a lot of people, right? Because you have
limited time, you have your day work, you have, and then you have this
other side engagement that you love to do. And, so whenever people call you, and I know my experience, right? And everybody thinks like, do I need a coach?
Do I need a coach? Like, what do people like call you for? Like, what are the... Things that you help people with. I mean, is there a common theme or is it every, it's all over the place? Is it, is it younger people? Is it people at different levels? Just how does that work?
Yeah. So sometimes people just call me cause they know me like, Hey, what would you do about this?
What would you do about this? Those are the five, 15, 25 minute conversations where it's just the reciprocal industry chatter. Fantastic. You do those conversations all day long, texting, whatever that, whatever works when you create either a space or a brand that people feel safe. I'd like to believe I do that for, for people, because if someone calls me and says, I need your help, I'm not going to tell other people about it.
It's a confidential private conversation. And here, there's three key things that people typically call me for. They either got to get out of where they are. And so I coached them to say, you're not running away from anything. You're running towards something better and different. So that whole mindset is really, really important.
Someone has just been promoted and they're like, Oh my gosh, now the hard work starts getting the promotions easy. The hard part is performing well in that new role. So they want help in leveling up or They're in a role and they just want to explore and expand and become a better version of themselves.
Those are my three primary clients. And I'll tell you, it wasn't necessarily very specifically that I went after the health care IT sector, but because I'm in it, those are my clients. And now I've specifically said I'm the health care IT sector person for coaching because there's others as well. I'm not going to be the person to help you with a relationship or life coaching per se or health coaching.
Like I can, we tabble in those spaces, but primarily I'm a career coach and I'm a healthcare it career coach. And that is a very fulfilling space. Cause to your point, I take a finite amount of clients because I can only do nights and weekends.
yeah, I mean, you mentioned you definitely focus on that healthcare space, but you are sort of a life coach because the reason that I, like talking to you is not only about my career, but, other things that I want to do.
And then, you ask all this questions and I feel like. You're holding me accountable for
So that we're like, Oh my God, I spoke with, Sarah about this. So I feel like I have to do it, but it's a good thing, not in a bad way. You know, Sometimes whenever we have all these things going on in our lives, we push things aside and we don't have anybody that kind of reminds us what's important for us and keeps us going and
forget, we can set them aside and not do anything about it. And so, you know, I believe that's a very important How do I say it? It's something that you give,
mentees. I mean, you definitely, it keeps us, motivated. It keeps us moving. But going back, I remember at the beginning of our conversation, I remember that I didn't know what to expect.
And so what are some of the important questions that people need to be prepared to answer when you first engage with them? Because Transcribed And I probably didn't have an answer for you for like a year, right? I was rumbling around. I was like, I don't know. I have no idea. But what are some of the things that people need to think about whenever they decide to engage a journey like this?
Sure. It's an interesting question because you're investing in yourself by paying for coaching. And so when you think about that accountability factor, I always ask people, what do you want at the end of this? So it goes back to some of those cubby principles, begin with the end in mind.
What are you hoping to achieve? Because you drive the agenda, you drive the key things that we talk about, you drive what you want to have better in your life. I help you get there. I can't make you go do something you said you were going to do for the last two weeks. That's totally on you. And yet... It's not just, I wait two weeks and hope you show up and did your homework kind of a thing.
It's, it's an ongoing relationship and a conversation. Traditional coaching is really about asking questions and helping clients or people solve what they already know to be true. They just need help navigating and getting there. By the nature of the work that I do, I tend to be a little bit of a consultant, a little bit of a coach, a little bit of a mentor.
And honestly, most of my clients become friends because all of a sudden you're having these deep conversations and somebody knows all these things about you. And then you're like, Hey, I kind of want to keep knowing you or keep having those conversations. That's what's been really fascinating. And all of these journeys I've had clients.
So I interview each person before I take them on. I'm like, I may not be a good fit for you. And it's important if you're curious about coaching, interview three or four coaches, find out who could be a good fit for you and what you're really looking for, because there are so many niche coaches out there.
And yes, some of the pieces overflow into life in general. I mean, heck you and I are both at home right now. We live at work now to a degree, whether you're fully remote or hybrid, or heck, if you're going in all the time, you take home, work home a lot more than you ever used to. So it's important to understand what the individual wants at the end of the time together and what the commitment is going to take to get there.
Because if you're just adding it because you think you should, and you're not really willing to make a change, then the coaching is just going to be a conversation. Sure, if that's what you're looking for, that's available, but I'd love to do goal setting, and really do obstacle removal, and Look at the art of the possible with my clients and help them see and become the best version of themselves Because they need a partner that isn't going to be judging them on anything other than what they're willing to talk about at a given time
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📍 Yeah, you're definitely on point with that because you have helped me and I know others we just remove those barriers and and just kind of think through I never thought about it Could you listen, you know, I mean just go ahead and do it and you like it and you're like, oh Well, that's great.
He works out and you talk about the perfect fit for your clients, but it's a mutual relationship, right? So what, like for you, what's important that whenever you have somebody that is interested in coaching, what's important for you. So you say, yeah, I can take this person as a person, as a client or not.
You talk about, making sure that. It aligns with the areas of development that you're looking for, but what else? I mean, chemistry, what, what else, Sarah?
Chemistry is important in any relationship, no matter how you are conducting that. I can't solve a problem for you that you don't know exists.
I can't solve a problem you aren't willing to fix, and I can't solve a problem that isn't understood to be something you already have inside of you that you have the power to take care of yourself. A lot of times it's just about confidence and perspective. That's why I still have a coach. Like I literally have a coach and I'll be like, ah, you know, those moments where you're like no matter how, confident or how capable you are in a scenario, there's always a person or persons that you need to be able to reach out to and ask those questions.
That could be a coach, could be a mentor, could be a friend, could be anybody in your life, but it's like having that personal board of directors, like who fills these different seats in my life. And so there's a space and I literally just interviewed someone who's a friend and a peer who's looking for coaching.
And I'm like, We're too similar. You need to go find somebody who's going to give you a different perspective on things. And they were like, yeah, you're right. So that was really helpful because I'm not here to give you more of the same. I'm here to give you something different from your life. And if we're very similar in our approaches, then I may not be the right perspective.
And so I always share those views with people because it's an investment and it's time and it does get personal, especially for the, coachee in terms of the things that they're exploring in their lives. So it really does become. A space of how do I make sure that it's right on all fronts that's a responsibility of the coach, not just to gather clients, to make sure there's really going to be something that you get out of it.
And let's be honest, I get as much out of it as, as I'm hopeful that my coaches do because I'm learning about them and I have to be constantly be on point. So I'm always researching and reviewing and making sure that I'm bringing my best self to the table, too.
so you mentioned something, something else that caught my attention because I remember that when we started, I mean, I got introduced to you, but I knew you before.
I just didn't know that this is something that you were doing. It just happened to work out. It was a perfect match. And yes, I've learned so much for you. I mean, I admire you. I think you're an amazing person. Like I said before, it's just all the things that you've done and everything that you set in your mind, you've done.
And so that's great. and then when I started talking to you, I didn't really know what having a coach meant or what was everything that I was going to get out of, right. And then the second piece is as my journey continued with you, I realized, like you said, that you have to have that.
people that you can call and they provide you with different perspectives, but it's not as simple. It sounds simple, but it's not simple to find
right. It's like
people that you trust people that know that you can say something in confidence people that are going to give you an answer on your best interest.
I mean, there's nothing there's no attachments. It's like they're really their perspective because they know you and they feel like what's best for you is, you know, whatever. I mean, How do you make that approach? I was lucky enough, but every conference that I go and, you know, we talk about you and you need a coach, you need to have your circle of trust.
Like, how do you start this? It's, it's not that simple. And like I said, finding the right fit, finding the right person, like what is your recommendation? How do you do that?
What's interesting about that is so often, and especially in the workplace, we are encouraged to have mentors. And every company has a mentor program and all those aspects, and there's a lot of value to them.
And here we pause for a second on that value because often mentors and mentees are just put together and you're like, Whoa, I've got to figure this one out. And when you go ask someone to be your mentor, especially if it's someone you look up to or that you're almost to a degree, like almost shy around or, or like, Hey, would that person talk to me?
That's actually the wrong way to go about getting a mentor. Who do you naturally have a connection with or a relationship? And I believe it's Eleanor Roosevelt who said, small minds talk about people. Great minds talk about ideas. Who are the people in your life with whom you already ideate that you already call for?
Hey, how would you solve this? Need at work. How would you look for this workflow, staffing, ideas, budget presentation, board conversation, interview pieces? Who are the people that intrinsically make you feel good and that you feel safe around? Those tend to be relationships that have actually been fostered over a period of time and Allowing yourself a chance to develop the relationship prior to just the mentorship is really, really key.
And you'd be amazed at the people in your life that fill those roles for you that you may not have assumed. It doesn't always have to be professional. It could be somebody that you know through an association. It could be somebody, at church, at a volunteer group, any of those different places.
it's not formalized and said, hey, you're my mentor. Literally one of my closest. Friends and the work like peers, colleagues, whatever he was a vendor of mine and we just always hit it off and had great conversations. We now have worked for like two or three different companies and guess who I'm always with at industry events.
Guess who I call or text all the time with anything happening because I trust him and I know I can send him like the weirdest question ever and be like, Hey, so this just happened in a meeting and this just happened and this just happened and he goes, yep, can't make it up. Can we? I'm like, Nope. And yet.
You always boom. You feel better. Like there's somebody to share life with in these different scenarios. And so pay attention to those people who continuously show up and they show up the way that you need them to, not the way that you hope that they will or wants to project that they are. And you can start small.
You only need one to really start to feel like you have a community outside of yourself.
Well, now you're talking about people that you know, people that don't necessarily do this as a side job. It's just, but why you really need a coach? How do you
ask? Hey, do you have a coach? Because coaching so prolific now became a thing, especially the last five or so years.
Ask, you can probably search coach on LinkedIn and find a ridiculous amount of people. And that's great. I just simply ask, who do you know that does executive coaching? And there are really, really like niche, expensive, fancy, fabulous firms who do. And at the ceo and beyond level, there's so many different levels of coaching, but you really say, do you know of anybody?
Could you refer me? And then somebody always knows somebody else. So truly in the worst case scenario, just go search LinkedIn for coach or executive coach or career coach, whatever you're looking for. Otherwise ask your network. Because somebody typically knows somebody else, and it's funny, like, I recently had a previous peer reach out to me for some coaching for positioning for a new opportunity in another company, and they got the job, so we did a lot of, a lot of legwork, so they set them up.
He calls me the other day, and he goes, Hey, you know, so and so referred me. And I was like, Oh, he's like, I'd forgotten you did it. And then when they said, you know, they'd be like, yeah, Sarah. And they go, Oh, right. Duh. I forgot that she did that too, but we've been peers in a previous company. How do you really thought about me in that space?
And like, can you help me with this new opportunity and slam dunk? Like he got the offer, got the job. so it's been really fun to reconnect as well, because you forget some of the superpowers that you have with people you worked with, because you didn't need them yourself until all of a sudden you realized that you did.
I love that word. They use superpower and I know that a lot of people use it in many in many ways, but it's true. Like I remember even telling you when we started our conversation. I feel like I lost my superpower and I felt, and this was it. And I got it back and I feel good about it. But there's obviously a lot of other areas that I need to work on.
And my journey has been fantastic. So to all of people out there that feel like I don't know if I need one. I don't know if I need a coach. Thank you so much. You probably do. And there's nothing wrong with that. I think it's, it's amazing. And again, like you and I share many, many stories and I got to know you in a personal level.
And so it's, it makes it even more fun.
Anything else that
you want to add, Sarah, just to close our segment.
If you're curious about coaching research it and learn more and most coaches will share a perspective with you or do a half hour discovery session to find out if it's the right opportunity for you because we all need help sometimes and it's not that we're not capable it's not that we aren't good it's not that we're not going to be able to be successful in our next endeavor it's just that for perspective every so often I call them tune ups you need help getting there and if anyone's a sports fan all of your favorite Athletes have a coach.
So why wouldn't you put yourself into that same echelon?
Ooh, I love that. Great closing. Well, thank you, sir, for the time. I really appreciate it and I will talk to you soon. Take care. Great. Thanks, Carla. Bye bye.
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