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What is physician coaching?

(Updated to point you toward a blog series that gives much more detail about physician coaching, evidence, methods, and much more. You can check it out here). 

Coaching has been around in other fields for decades. Leaders in the C-suites of large corporations have long since used coaching to keep up their A-game. And though a small subset of physicians has found the benefits of coaching over the years, it was only in the last 5 years that data has been published about physician coaching's benefits. The most well-known study, released in August 2019, showed decreased emotional exhaustion, reduced burnout, increased resiliency, and increased quality of life with physician coaching. 

Let's talk about what coaching is and what it's not.  

First, what it's not - coaching is NOT therapy. Therapists diagnose and treat and often are past-focused. It is not advising - advisors give advice - they guide, direct, and steer. It is not mentoring. Mentors are people the physicians naturally look up to and want to emulate.  

Coaching is officially defined as "partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential, which is particularly important in today's uncertain and complex environment." Foundational to coaching is that the client is seen as whole, capable, and resourceful. Partnership - not expert/learner - it's not hierarchical. 

A favorite analogy is that a coach is like a personal trainer for your brain. A trainer finds out how you see yourself and who you want to be. They personalize your plan to your needs. They help you find clarity, uncover self-limiting beliefs, and devise strategies for overcoming them to find fulfillment. Ultimately, a physician coach helps you find joy in the journey now

Physicians are well-steeped in delayed gratification, that ever-elusive pot of gold. Instead of waiting for the next stepping stone - finishing medical school, finishing internship, completing residency, getting started in your practice, being well-established in your practice, etc., physician-coaching helps you find wholeness and joy now. Let's ditch the arrival fallacy. 

At Joy in Family Medicine Coaching Services®, we take a causal coaching approach rather than focusing solely on actions. We are not unlike our patients who often know what steps they need to take for a healthy lifestyle, but their mindset and other obstacles prevent them from making meaningful change.

Fundamentally, change for physicians needs to be a bit deeper for any change in actions to stick. We help you find and align your purpose with your approach and trajectory. We also intentionally give the tools early in a physician's career to prevent burning out - you don't have to burn out! You can sustain a satisfying career for years to come by learning empowering approaches to your career, life, and integration of the two. That's why for Joy in Family Medicine Coaching Services, LLC, our primary aim is the incubator of primary care - residency programs - residents and faculty. 

You may think - "Wait! Why 'fix' me?! The system needs help." First, you are not broken. Second, we agree with you that the system needs help while realizing that it takes time to overhaul it. However, that doesn't mean you have to delay your fulfillment and enjoyment. Coaching can help you now. You could become the best change agent for the system once you are operating from your optimal mindset.

We can help you rediscover your joy and thrive.  

Have a joy-filled day – Tonya

Want to know more about how coaching can help you or your program? Learn more




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