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  • ilselarsoncoaching

Every Physician Deserves A Coach

In my last post, I shared a bit about what coaching is and how coaching is different from therapy, mentorship, and friendship.

Simply put, coaches help clients make their good lives awesome. (Check out my previous post for more details!).

Today, I am excited to highlight evidence for the impact of physician coaching. Coaching has been part of the corporate world for decades but is relatively new in the field of medicine. Some might remain skeptical about the role of coaching in physician wellness and organizational change. However, randomized controlled trials show that coaching works!

When compared to their colleagues, physicians who were randomized to receive 6 coaching sessions had:

  • Decreased emotional exhaustion

  • Improved resilience

  • Improved work engagement

  • Improved quality of life

  • Improved psychological capital/emotional resources

And - hot off the presses - resident physicians who were randomized to participate in a 6-month online coaching program (with coaching provided by physicians who trained with me at the Life Coach School!) had significantly decreased emotional exhaustion (one of the domains of burnout), decreased rates of imposter syndrome, and increased self compassion scores when compared to their peers.

Unlike many other wellness initiatives with initial results that quickly wane, the benefits of physician coaching have been shown to persist for at least 6 months post-intervention.

Coaching benefits not just the individual physician. A physician who is experiencing less burnout and increased resilience and self compassion is likely to be: a more effective and productive healer, a better advocate for change within the field of medicine and the broader society, and a more engaged spouse/partner/parent/friend. The ripple effects are enormous.

Every physician deserves a coach.

xo, Ilse


Dyrbye LN, Shanafelt TD, Gill PR, Satele DV, West CP. Effect of a Professional Coaching Intervention on the Well-being and Distress of Physicians: A Pilot Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Intern Med. Published online August 05, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.2425

Fainstad T, Mann A, Suresh K, et al. Effect of a Novel Online Group-Coaching Program to Reduce Burnout in Female Resident Physicians: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Net Open. 2022;5(5):e2210752. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.10752

McGonagle AK, Schwab L, Yahanda N, Duskey H, Gertz N, Prior L, Roy M, Kriegel G. Coaching for primary care physician well-being: A randomized trial and follow-up analysis. J Occup Health Psychol. 2020 Oct;25(5):297-314. doi: 10.1037/ocp0000180. Epub 2020 Apr 16. PMID: 32297776.

West CP, Dyrbye LN, Rabatin JT, et al. Intervention to Promote Physician Well-being, Job Satisfaction, and Professionalism: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Intern Med. 2014;174(4):527–533. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.14387


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