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  • Writer's pictureShandy Welch

Physician coaching... can you reach your full potential without it?

Dr. Atul Gawande is an advocate for coaching. He has written many beautiful articles, articulated his position on stage, and brought us into the vulnerable world of asking for support and guidance. Atul Gawande- Want to get great at something? Get a coach

I think we can all agree that the complexity of medicine has increased. The technology we have available to identify disease years earlier than before is now commonplace, the expectation of perfection and mastery abounds. It is required that medical providers perform at a level of attention and precision which offers no respite or recourse. Litigation is on the rise and there is no room for human err. Yet, the opportunities for connection, downtime, and support is not honored or revered as important.

Remember the days where physician lounges were places to relax and socialize, to reflect, and to connect with colleagues? Remember M&M rounds where we sought to learn, discover new perspectives and insights? Remember connecting after long days with your partners to learn about their day, their family, and their weekend plans? Remember when that was not seen as “wasted time”, or time that could be spent “seeing another patient”, but rather, an integrated moment of your day where feeling supported and part of something bigger was something you look forward to?

As the landscape of healthcare changes we are taught the new technology, the new pharmaceuticals, and new treatments, but are we taught how to capture balance? Are we taught how to inspire a team so the stress fuels us rather than exhausts us? Are we taught how to view leadership as everyones responsibility? Physicians are commonly asked to lead their partners, not because they are specifically fond of leadership, but many times because “they are next in line”. Yet, when asked, they have been given no guidance or education in how to lead effectively, how to resolve conflict, how to negotiate in a thoughtful way, or how to inspire vision and purpose.

Atul Gawande agrees, “having a good coach to provide a more accurate picture of our reality, to instill positive habits of thinking, and to break our actions down and then help us build them back up again. "It's not how good you are now; it's how good you're going to be that really matters,".

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