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Coaching the Excelling Learner

Learning Objectives
1. Recognize the value in ongoing personal development as a coach
2. Recognize when coaching shifts into advising and mentoring
3. Identify your own limitations as a coach and when a referral is appropriate
0.25 Credit

The AMA Accelerating Change in Medical Education Academic Coaching team has provided several workshops to develop faculty coaching skills and recently published new coaching competencies. As the team works to disseminate coaching and facilitate training of medical students and residents, there is a need for training about the coaching competencies. The AMA Accelerating Change in Medical Education coaching video series is a resource to help faculty coaches improve their coaching by incorporating the competencies into their coaching practice. The nine video modules demonstrate coaching competencies and include examples of inexperienced and experienced coaches. These modules may be used as a component of a comprehensive coaching curriculum to prompt reflection and discussion.

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The AMA ChangeMedEd initiative works with partners across the medical education continuum to help produce a physician workforce that meets the needs of patients today and in the future. Learn more

Video Transcript

Host: [00:05] By the end of this module, you will recognize the value of ongoing personal development as a coach, recognize when coaching shifts into advising and mentoring, and be able to identify your own limitations as a coach and realize when a referral is appropriate.

This module covers the following competencies: Recognize limitations as a coach, cultivate self-development, and self-management. Specifically, coaches should continue to cultivate their development by seeking out coach training and ongoing coach education. This may take the form of attending workshops, working with a professional coach themselves on self-development, or participating in a coaching learning community.

Engaging in ongoing development will help coaches be cognizant of using coaching skills and processes and of being mindful of when they switch into advising or mentoring instead of coaching.

Sometimes, though, despite your best efforts at professional development, there will be times when you as a coach are not what the coachee needs. This is okay. It is important that you recognize your limitations as a coach and know when to refer to someone else. This may be to fulfill the role as a mentor or an advisor, for an example.

In addition, a coaching relationship is not expected to last forever. Coaches should recognize when coaching might need to come to an end and help facilitate this transition.

In these videos, we will observe a coach with a learner who is excelling. In the first video, the coach is not sure how to coach this learner who is already doing so well. Instead of seeking out resources or advice, the coach enters the coaching session knowing they are unsure how to proceed. This is a missed opportunity for self-development to seek out other resources. As you watch the scenario, notice how the coaching conversation falls short and then abruptly pivots into advising.

Coach: [02:07] Morgan, how are you doing?

Morgan: [02:08] I'm doing well! I just finished my surgery shelf exam and now I have the weekend off. So I'm doing well, how about you?

Coach: [02:18] That's great to hear and I'm doing well, too, thanks for asking. Now that you're halfway through your clerkships, I want to review your clerkship evaluations with you and I really want to identify themes for areas of improvement. Did you get a chance to read them before the meeting?

Morgan: [02:27] Yeah, I did.

Coach: [02:28] Great. What did you think?

Morgan: [02:30] Well, I've honored all of my rotation so far, so I think I'm doing really well.

Coach: [02:34] Yes, you certainly are, and that was my assessment as well.

Morgan: [02:37] Great, thank you. I actually do have a question: I decided to go into pediatrics. And I'm wondering what electives I should take. Do you have any suggestions about electives to sign up for for next year?

Coach: [02:47] That's a great question, and I'd be happy to take off my coaching hat and put my advising hat on. In my opinion, I think considering a PICU rotation so that you can get a letter from the program director. I'd also consider doing an away rotation at the place that you want to go to and I also suggest doing an outpatient setting rotation so that you get that experience as well.

Morgan: [03:07] Thank you. That's really helpful.

Coach: [03:09] Great. Is there anything else that you need help with?

Morgan: [03:10] No, I think that's it.

Coach: [03:12] Well, it was really nice to see you and keep up the great work.

Morgan: [03:14] Thank you, I will.

Host: [03:16] Let's reflect: There were some good aspects of that encounter. For example, the coach demonstrated the competency of self-management by acknowledging when they transitioned into an advising role. However, they transition to the advising role rather abruptly.

Possibly, in part because they did not probe the learner any further after the learner gave a superficial response about their performance. Although the coach was aware that they were not personally sure how to engage with this highly successful learner, they did not seek out additional help prior to the meeting.

Next, we will see an example of experience coaching where this goes a little bit differently.

Coach: [04:03] Morgan, how are you doing?

Morgan: [04:04] I'm doing well. I just finished my surgery shelf exam and now I have the weekend off. So I'm doing well. How about you?

Coach: [04:10] I'm doing well, thank you. And that's great to hear that you have the weekend off! Now that you're halfway through your clerkships, I want to review the evaluations with you. I want to identify themes and areas for development for you. Were able to review them before the meeting.

Morgan: [04:22] Yeah, sure did.

Coach: [04:23] Great. So what did you think?

Morgan: [04:25] Well, I've honored all my rotation so far, so I think I'm doing really well.

Coach: [04:29] That's my assessment as well. Did you get to review the notes and identify themes?

Morgan: [04:34] Like, did I see anything coming up over and over again?

Coach: [04:37] Yes, exactly.

Morgan: [04:39] Yeah, well, a few people noticed that I was a team player. And something else that came up was that I have a really good bedside manner with patients. Great. Did that resonate with you? Yeah, it really did. It's just so important to me that I'm able to communicate well with patients and families.

Coach: [04:56] I can tell that you're really proud of that you really lit up when you were talking about it.

Morgan: [04:59] Yeah!

Coach: [05:01] That's wonderful. Did you identify anything that you wanted to work on and develop and improve?

Morgan: [05:07] Yeah, actually, a couple people noted that I had a difficult time recognizing when a patient was sick.

Coach: [05:12] What do you think about that?

Morgan: [05:14] I actually remember the incident that they were referring to. It was a night shift and I wasn't sure that I needed to call my senior when a patient was getting sick.

Coach: [05:23] You have some elective time coming up. Is there something that you can select so that you can work on those skills?

Morgan: [05:29] Yeah, that's a good idea. I could rotate through the PICU or take additional inpatient time.

Coach: [05:35] And to be honest, pediatrics is outside of my expertise. But I'd be happy to connect you with some of the faculty advisors to help you sort through those things.

Morgan: [05:44] That will be really great. Thank you, Dr Rivera.

Host: [05:47] In this experience scenario, the coach demonstrates the competencies of self-development and being aware of one's limitations. Prior to the session, the coach reached out to their own coach for help to continue their own personal development. As a result, they're able to elicit areas of strength and development from the learner, even though they're already doing so well.

This conversation leads them to discussing which elective would be best suited to fill their gaps. The coach stayed in the coaching role, and then recognize when referral was appropriate. When you're working as a coach, ongoing development is essential. No two coachees will be exactly alike. It is important to build a broad skill set to meet the needs of your varied coachees.

Video Information

Disclosure Statement: Unless noted, all individuals in control of content reported no relevant financial relationships.

If applicable, all relevant financial relationships have been mitigated.

Participation Statement: Upon completion of this activity, learners will receive a Participation Certificate.


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