Physician Coaching is a positive and respectful approach to guiding physicians to accelerate their success on their own terms. It helps physicians to build and focus on skills that embrace a growth mindset.
How Can Physician Coaching Support Your Medical Practice
Physicians often tell us that they struggle with balancing their personal life with their professional life. They often find themselves working too much, spending too much time away from their families, and feeling overwhelmed with the responsibilities of running a medical practice.
In addition to these challenges, physicians face additional stressors related to malpractice insurance, billing issues, and patient complaints. This can easily lead to burnout, depression, anxiety, and frustration.
Fortunately, physician coaching has proven effective in helping physicians find ways to reframe and effectively deal with these obstacles.
What is Physician Coaching?
Physician coaching is a form of coaching that helps physicians manage their lives and careers effectively. Physicians receive individualized and/or group support from coaches who understand the unique pressures faced by doctors.
Coaches provide guidance, advice, and feedback to physicians (and other medical professionals) on managing stress, improving communication skills, dealing with complex patients, and handling challenging situations.
Why Does Physician Coaching Matter?
According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, nearly half of U.S. physicians report experiencing burnout. When physicians are emotionally exhausted, this can affect work performance and interactions with colleagues, patients, family and friends. Burnout leads to decreased productivity, increased errors, and higher rates of substance abuse among physicians. One in five primary care physicians is estimated to leave medicine within ten years of entering the field. These statistics highlight the importance of supporting physicians and helping them achieve optimal performance in a way that integrates work and life, in effect, work-life balance, coupled with success at work and home.
How Does Physician Coaching Benefit Physicians?
A study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine found that physician coaching was associated with improved job satisfaction, reduced stress levels, and fewer days absent due to illness. Additionally, coaching helped physicians improve their relationships with colleagues, patients, and staff.
Benefits Of Physician Coaching Include:
- Improved doctor-patient relationships
- Reduced stress levels
- Increased productivity
- Fewer sick days
- Better communication skills
- Greater self-confidence
- Higher morale
- Enhanced leadership abilities
- Improved ability to handle difficult situations
- Improved overall well-being
- Improved knowledge and skills
- Medical professionals feel more confident in their practice
- Physicians can feel more fulfilled in their role
- Physicians can reduce medical errors
The Benefits of Physician Coaching for a Medical Practice
Physician coaching is an emerging field used to help physicians achieve their professional and personal goals. In contrast to patient education and coaching, physician coaching focuses on the physician’s specific work environment and personal, professional, and interpersonal goals. Physician coaching can be used in many different ways and is designed to provide a framework for enhancing success toward achieving personal and professional goals and motivating a physician, building on skills that lead to lowering stress, time management, leadership, communication, and potentially improving patient care, and increasing productivity. Physicians don’t learn these skills in medical school. Physician coaching should be a normal part of professional development that comes with CME credit.
There are programs such as DocWorking THRIVE that are designed to include additional members of the care team in a coaching program, including PAs, NPs, nurses, technologists, therapists, administrators, executives, and everyone who works in a medical office, including the front desk employee. While physicians have their own peer support in DocWorking THRIVE, so do PAs and NPs, and so does the entire Care Team.
What Are The Benefits Of Physician Coaching?
Physician Coaching is a positive and respectful approach to guiding physicians to accelerate their success on their own terms. It helps physicians to build and focus on skills that embrace a growth mindset. Possessing these skills can lead to better care of patients, because when physicians are able to prioritize their own care and have access to the skills to do so, this leads to better leadership, communication and patient care. Physician Coaching can improve physician performance and satisfaction, help prevent and/or decrease burnout, and increase retention rates.
Who Benefits Most From Physician Coaching?
Studies show that physicians who participate in physician coaching programs have better outcomes than those who don’t. For example, many studies show and support that physicians participating in physician coaching significantly improved their emotional health, particularly compared to control groups. Furthermore, physicians who participated in physician coaching were more satisfied with their jobs and reported fewer days absent due to sickness. Studies have also found that physicians who received physician coaching experienced significant decreases in depressive symptoms, anxiety, and stress.
Additional research shows that physician coaching improves physician wellness and reduces burnout.
Are There Any Downsides To Physician Coaching?
Some physicians may feel uncomfortable discussing sensitive topics with a coach. However, coaches encourage physicians to open up about their struggles and share their feelings. Coaches also offer objective feedback and help physicians to see things from a different perspective.
Working with a coach or coaching team that is highly experienced working with physicians and other medical professionals is highly important, as they have worked with clients through hundreds and possibly thousands of scenarios and have a breadth of experience to draw from. They can guide doctors, PAs, nurse practitioners, healthcare executives, nurses, technologists, therapists and others, based on experience rather than relying solely on subjective opinions. Coaching sessions typically last between 30 minutes and an hour per session. While this time may seem short, it’s enough time to address many physicians’ problems and struggles, and often a brainstorming session with a trusted thinking partner or partners (in the case of small group coaching) is just what is needed.
Working with coaches can help doctors and other medical providers build a new set of skills that they weren’t taught in medical school, especially when coaching is combined with specific evidence based digital tools such as what is offered in DocWorking THRIVE.
Is Physician Coaching Right For Me?
Consider physician coaching if you’re a practicing physician looking for ways to improve your life and career.
Physician coaching offers several advantages and is different from traditional forms of therapy. Coaching allows physicians to discuss sensitive topics in a confidential setting. Coaches give personalized feedback and the coach guides the physician client to understand and readily access a set of skills that help them to identify choices (where they have agency) and see interactions from a different perspective, to defuse stressful situations, to process stress, to better manage time, set boundaries, deal with perfectionism and feelings of isolation, and find creative ways to find work-life integration.
The way each individual clinician uses these skills differs based upon how they define what they personally value most, with values-based coaching. The coaching interaction encourages physicians to take ownership of their situation and develop solutions tailored to their own specific needs. Coaching also allows physicians to learn from others’ mistakes and from others’ success, especially when coaching programs embrace small group coaching and other ways to integrate the crucial component of peer to peer support.
But remember, coaching is never a substitute for therapy; many find the two work exceptionally well together. Therapy is delivered by a licensed therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist, and is a different process from coaching.
How Can Physician Coaching Be Used?
The key to physician coaching success is to make it a collaborative process. It is essential to take the time to understand yourself, how you define what matters most to you, and your own definition of success.
Coaching doesn’t have to take much of your time. With a carefully designed program that integrates coaching with interactive learning tools and peer support, you can make significant progress in just minutes per week. This will help you to determine the best way to implement physician coaching. It is also essential to create a coaching plan that helps to identify specific areas of improvement you would like to make so you can accelerate your path to success on your own terms.
Physician coaching combined with peer support and a digital learning system can take just minutes per day or week to accelerate your success on your own terms. The side effect of a well designed coaching program is burnout prevention, something all physicians and healthcare workers should prioritize. Joining the right coaching program can give you the tools you need and help you learn ways to easily use them. It can mitigate stress and increase joy in your life, interestingly, often also leading to increased productivity in your medical practice.
Physician coaching has many benefits, such as increased employee satisfaction, productivity, patient satisfaction, and revenue. The type of physician coaching best for you and your medical practice will depend on your specific needs. With the right program, you can allocate minimal time and make significant strides with physician coaching in your practice.
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Consider DocWorking THRIVE
DocWorking THRIVE is the coaching and community subscription package that guides you to embrace life in the way that is most meaningful to you. So you can truly THRIVE.
DocWorking THRIVE combines a team of highly experienced professional coaches with peer support and easily accessible interactive digital tools, ready to support you. We offer coaching programs and packages for healthcare professionals that support your personal and professional growth. It’s a valuable resource that delivers tangible benefits in your life. If you’ve made it this far, chances are, you are the ideal candidate for coaching!