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Coaching Basics

Learning Objectives
1. Describe three key activities you can do prior to and during an initial coaching meeting that will help establish the foundation of your coaching relationship
2. Differentiate roles of coach, advisor, and mentor
3. List two strategies you can use to identify when you are shifting from the role of coach to mentor or advisor in order to refocus your efforts on learner centered coaching
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: [00:03] After watching this module, you'll be able to describe three key activities that you can do prior to and during an initial coaching meeting that will help establish the foundation of your coaching relationship, you'll be able to differentiate roles of coach, advisor, and mentor, and finally, you'll be able to list two strategies that you can use to identify when you're shifting from the role of coach to mentor or advisor in order to refocus your efforts on learner-centered coaching.

The coaching competencies demonstrated in this module are establishing the coaching agreement and cultivating self-management. In this set of videos, we will watch a coach and their coachee navigate their initial coaching meeting. Ideally, both the coach and coachee will come prepared to give each other their undivided attention as they work together to establish their relationship and their coaching agreement.

The coach will also help the coachee cultivate skills for self-management. This includes the coach sending relevant documents for the coachee to review prior to and during their meeting time, defining their relationship, and highlighting the difference between coach advisor and mentor. It's important that when together, the coach and coachee are not distracted or focusing on tasks that are unrelated to establishing a solid coaching relationship.

In this scenario, we will watch a faculty member who is new to the coaching program, but has gone through a robust series of synchronous and asynchronous training to help them prepare for their new role. As you watch the scenario unfold, try to identify ways in which the coach has missed opportunities to remain on task, such as providing their undivided attention, establishing the coaching agreement, and helping cultivate their coach's sense for self-management.

Coach: [01:46] Hi, Randy, is it 1:00 already?

Randy: [01:49] Hey, yeah.

Coach: [01:49] Great. Let me just finish this email real quick. Sorry about that.

Randy: [01:53] Okay.

Coach: [01:58] Great. Okay. Perfect. Well, yes, thank you for coming over to my office. I've just been tied to my computer all day. And I do have an important phone call that might be coming in while we talk. But I think if we get through our agenda quick enough, we can get that done before the call.

Randy: [02:16] Okay. Well, it's nice to meet you in person. Finally.

Coach: [02:18] Yes, yes, of course. It's so nice to meet you, too. So let's get started. How has everything been going... are your classes going okay? Remind me what classes you're in again?

Randy: [02:30] Um, yeah, I'm in my M1 year. So... I think I'm doing all right? It's also my first year medical school so I'm just... just trying to make it by I think I'm okay though.

Coach: [02:40] Yeah, good. Good. So everything's going well, good. Well, we should talk about goals. So have you set any goals for yourself for the first couple of months?

Randy: [02:49] Honestly, not really. I just kind of want to make this first term without any major hiccups, honestly, yeah.

Coach: [02:56] Well, that's a good goal, yes. We should be a little bit more specific, though. So what kind of specific goals do you want to set?

Randy: [03:07] Um, honestly, I don't know. I thought that was kind of the point of this meeting... I thought that's why we were here...

Coach: [03:14] Okay, well, that's fair. I mean, I'm the one that's been through medical school and all. So... well, let me think, I guess good goals would be for you to study two or three hours a night and I think you should form a study group. That is really helpful.

Randy: [03:31] All right, I kind of already do study more than two to three hours a night. But I can definitely, I guess up that number. And yeah, I can definitely reach out to a couple classmates tomorrow and make a group. Also, clinical rotations. I know it's a little early, but I'm interested in family med. Do you have any tips?

Coach: [03:49] Oh, family medicine! That's a great career! One of my good friends is a family physician. So let me set you up with them and you guys can connect that way. That'll be great... sorry. I think that is... that's this call I was waiting on. Hold on one second. Okay.

Coach: (Speaking into phone) Hello. Oh, great. Hi. Yeah. Thank you for calling. I just wanted to go ahead and follow up on that issue that we were talking about from the meeting... Yeah... right. I know, I know exactly... Yes, I know. Hold on, hold on. (to Randy) Okay. [Indistinguishable] All right, bye. (Into phone) Okay, sorry about that. Yeah, go ahead...

Host: [04:34] Let's reflect on what we just watched. This was the coach and coachee's first encounter. How do you think they did with exploring expectations of one another? Did you hear the student express confusion over the purpose of their meeting?

Remember, in the first meeting, the coach and coachee are trying to develop a solid foundation and understanding of their relationship and roles. This requires preparation on the part of the coach. The coach should set the agenda for the first meeting to ensure the coachee comes prepared to engage in a conversation about setting expectations of each other, clearly defining the parameters of the coach/coachee relationship, expectations for future meetings, and initial conversations about goal setting. The coach should come prepared ready to introduce the coachee to the concept of coaching in a coaching contract, how to develop smart goals, and the expectations the coach has of the coachee for each time they meet. By doing these simple tasks, coaches can help set the stage to help cultivate a coachee's self-management skills. Although more and more schools and programs are using coaching models to support their learners, coaches should expect that this first meeting will be their coach's first exposure to coaching in an academic setting. It will be helpful for a coachee to understand the differences between coaching, mentoring, and advising.

So let's take a look at this next video of a coach who works to establish the coaching relationship and support their coaches development towards self-management through coaching as opposed to advising or mentoring. In this scenario, the experienced coach demonstrates competencies of establishing a coaching agreement and cultivating self-management.

Coach: [06:19] Hi, come on in! Hi, it's so nice to finally meet you in person.

Randy: [6:23] You too! I'm really excited to see you. Thank you so much for sending me that email before the meeting. I was able to look it over and I did come up with some goals if that's okay with you.

Coach: [06:32] That's great. I'm so glad you did that preparation. But before we talk about your goals, let's go over some expectations so that we're all on the same page.

Randy: [06:40] Okay.

Coach: [06:41] Are you familiar with academic coaching? I know it's a new concept for a lot of people.

Randy: [6:45] Honestly, I don't really know too much about academic coaching... I just know what sports coaching is. But your email was super helpful, thank you. I was just a little confused of how you're different from my advisor, I think I already have one of those.

Coach: [06:59] Yeah, so that's a good question. I think of an advisor as someone that you come to, to tell you what to do to get to a certain goal: how to get into a residency or pass a course. Then some people wonder about a mentor. And a mentor is a person who's more like a role model that you ask their advice based on their experience, or a path that they've been down that is interesting to you. So a coach, though, is someone like me who will help you set your own goals through asking a lot of questions, listening, and helping you make goals and keeping you accountable. If that all makes sense.

Randy: [07:43] Yeah, that actually makes a lot of sense. Thank you. Thank you so much for that.

Coach: [07:46] Okay, great. Well, then let's talk next about the expectations we'll have of each other around preparing for meetings.

Randy: [07:53] Okay.

Coach: [07:54] All right. It sounds like you were able to look at this draft coaching agreement that I sent you?

Randy: [07:58] Yeah, yeah, I did. There wasn't anything I wanted to change.

Coach: [08:02] Okay, great. So what will you do to prepare for our meetings?

Randy: [08:06] From now on, I'll make sure to look over deadlines, goals, and update my student portfolio, and just kind of look over them and just come ready to talk.

Coach: [08:14] Okay, that sounds like a great plan. And don't forget to think to bring any decisions you might be needing to make in the near future. Like, if scheduling your clinical rotations is coming up, that's something we can talk about as well.

Randy: [08:30] Okay... Yeah.

Coach: [08:32] Well, wait though, if you don't want to talk about that, it should be your decision. It's really you that's driving the agenda. So if you don't want to talk about scheduling rotations, you don't have to, it'll all be up to you.

Randy: [08:43] Yeah, that sounds good to me so far.

Coach: [08:45] Okay, great. And so then as your coach, I'll commit to reviewing any new portfolio data that might have come in, I'll make sure to have looked at the goals you set from our prior meeting, and I'll respond to all your emails in a timely manner. Each time you leave, we'll set a calendar appointment for our next meeting so we're ready to go. Does that sound reasonable?

Randy: [09:06] Yeah, that sounds great.

Coach: [09:07] Okay, sounds good. Well, let's get that meeting scheduled now. And what will you be prepared to bring to our next meeting?

Randy: [09:14] I'll update my portfolio and update my goals if I need to. And is it okay to take up my phone to schedule that meeting for next time?

Coach: [09:21] Yeah, let's get it done.

Randy: [09:22] Cool.

Coach: [09:22] Alright, so what does next month look like for you?

Host: [09:28] Hopefully you notice the coach and coachees working together to establish and maintain their coaching relationship. For example, they jointly established their coaching agreement, they ensured that they were fully prepared for their meeting by reviewing all pertinent data and documents, and they were fully present during the time together.

Coaching requires skills that differ from those required to mentor and advise. During this last encounter, you saw the coach ask probing questions and listen in order to teach and support behaviors of self-management in their coachee. As a coach, recognizing when you shift to advising and mentoring behaviors such as asking closed ended questions and being directive, or offering advice can help you redirect those behaviors to a more student-centered coaching approach that cultivates a coachee's ability for self-management.

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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