Physician Coaching: Explained

Physician Coaching: Explained

Coaching has no definitive definition, but the concepts it entails are empowering. Thinking, listening, and verbalizing with a trusted partner can be therapeutic at its most basic. Coaching is not one partner asking a series of questions. It is a process of inquiry. Such inquiry is part of a process toward progress that can provoke critical thinking and a greater awareness within the coaching client.

Each client’s reasons for enlisting coaching are certainly varied, but there is some inciting issue or situation that prompted them to first consider, and then seek out a coach. The reasons may not be clear to the client, nor may their expectations be of their outcome. What gets the client in the door (or on the phone) is far less important than the initial coaching conversation. Why? Simply because the outcome of a coaching conversation must be clear, and it may often evolve as coaching progresses.  

Changing behaviors is never easy, especially if those behaviors are limiting our growth, learning, and overall potential. Humans are social creatures and need the presence of others to enrich our lives. Attempting to “go it alone” can work in some situations, but not all. The objective approach a coach employs can be both enriching and profoundly transformational.

Part of our greatest challenge in life is realizing our strengths, weaknesses, and talents. It can be a struggle filled with trial and error, frustration, and at times, a seemingly overwhelming quest to understand if the path we have taken is the “right one.” It is easy to admire those who have seemingly reached the pinnacle of their professions, as they often make their accomplishments seem simple. Observing the success of others from afar can lead to the perception that those of such status have a charmed life, one without hardship or struggle, and that their lives are somehow better than our own. They certainly have discovered the keys to happiness as a result.

Or have they?

One does not have to search far for stories of those who seemingly had it all, only to follow their success with often self-inflicted destructive behaviors that reveal anything but an exceptional life. It’s easy to wonder, “how could someone with the world in the palm of their hand, throw it all away?”  You might even feel better, at least momentarily, learning about another’s misfortune when compared to your own situation. That is, until reality sets in and you are pulled back to the reality that you are still “stuck” in your own personal hell.

What does any of this have to do with coaching?

Quite a bit, actually.

We often follow our gut, or the inner voice that guides us as we make countless decisions each day, many of which do not require much thinking.  Most of the time, there is not second guessing or concern that such decisions were incorrect (think driving home from the supermarket).  It’s those other times that seem to hold a higher level of uncertainty, due to the stakes involved, or the underlying fear of what a “wrong choice” can lead to.

Even though coaching lacks a definitive definition, a one-size fits all approach, it can be gleaned that at its core, coaching is the opportunity to seek wisdom, guidance, and objective support from a like-minded, expert individual. The benefits are abundant at any stage of your career. All you need is a willingness to give it a try and start the conversation.

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