The gift of the benefit of the doubt.

I have friends and colleagues that naturally grew up with the mindset of giving everyone the benefit of the doubt.  I’m not sure why I didn’t, but I used to often assume the worst about others.  I didn’t even see it as a problem until I was in training. 

 

Thankfully, I began to learn to give patients the benefit of the doubt during training. By way of example, I experienced my fair share of narcotic seekers and manipulating who wanted to either abuse medications or divert prescriptions for money. Cynicism reared its head early; however, I had key faculty, colleagues and patients that taught me some important concepts. 

 

One lesson was that some patients do a bit of over-acting as a preemptive tactic.  They fear they won’t be believed and will be dismissed so they exaggerate.  I particularly remember this in a few patients of our large population of patients with sickle cell disease needing admission for severe acute...

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My journey to coaching

I’ve been asked to tell how I ended up in this physician coaching space a few times over the last several weeks. So, I decided to do some reflective writing about my journey.

 

There were four major experiences that overlapped and culminated in the creation of Joy in Family Medicine Coaching Services, LLC.

 

First, my own personal burnout story which reached the pinnacle in March 2015.  Mine was mid-career in timing (11-20 years out).  I was absolutely loving academic medicine and all the many hats I had to wear.  I really felt like overall I was doing a good job.  Retrospectively, I aimed for perfection in each area and relied on external validation.  I hadn’t yet started viewing perfectionism as something I could dial up or down depending on the task.  I was 100% perfection-oriented on every task. That led to working through each and every lunch time, developing lectures at night, and foregoing socializing with colleagues as...

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What is physician coaching?

Coaching has been around in other fields for a couple of 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 have found the benefits of coaching over the years, it was only in the last 5 years that data has been published about the benefits of physician coaching. The most well known study, released August 2019, showed decreased emotional exhaustion, decreased burnout, increased resiliency, and increased quality of life with physician coaching. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31380892/

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

First what it's not - coaching is NOT therapy. It is not advising - advisors give advice - they guide, direct, and steer.  It is not mentoring.  Mentors are people the physician naturally looks up to and wants to emulate.  

Coaching is officially defined as "partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process...

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