Home Research Case Studies Health Care Sector Advancing Emergency Medical Leadership Through Coaching: Results of an Action Research Study

Advancing Emergency Medical Leadership Through Coaching: Results of an Action Research Study

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Trevor Maslyk, MA, EMT-P
Connie MacKinnon, CMA, PCC


This article describes an action research study which examined the effectiveness of professional coaching relationships as a means to create greater leadership capacity among emergency medical services (EMS) leaders in Canada. A review of current literature explored the definition of coaching, generated an understanding of organizational change leadership, and investigated organizational culture and the culture of EMS. Adhering to all relevant ethical considerations and standards, data were collected using both quantitative and qualitative action research techniques, including surveys and participant journaling. Based on the research findings, it has been concluded that the EMS Chiefs of Canada can influence the development of EMS leadership capacity by supporting coaching as a developmental instrument. The study recommendations have identified the critical factors necessary for successful coaching outcomes, recognized coaching as an under utilized and misunderstood leadership tool, and indicated that EMS leaders find value in coaching and coach-like leadership.


This research project presents a view of how the EMS Chiefs of Canada can better utilize leadership coaching to advance EMS leadership development to meet the significant and growing leadership challenges facing EMS service provider organizations, and indeed, all leaders in the health care continuum.

The recommendations presented in this report serve as a springboard to build EMS leadership capacity through coaching by supporting the following leadership principles:
1. Self-reflection supports greater leadership self-awareness;
2. A high degree of self-awareness supports leadership development; and
3. Leadership development is a journey that creates personal and organizational growth.

Leadership coaching provides an environment where all three of these principles can be put into action. Enhanced leadership capacity, improved patient care and creative solutions to the many challenges facing the health care system in Canada and beyond, will be the logical outcome.

A full report on this project is attached.

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