Physician Coaching & Wellness

February 4, 2022

Originally featured in the Canadian Medical Association’s Pandemic Wellness Tool Kit launched October 2021.

What is coaching?

The International Coach Federation (ICF) defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. The process of coaching often unlocks previously untapped sources of imagination, productivity and leadership.

One of my favourite definitions of coach is a carriage that gets you from one place to another in style. Wholistically shining the light on you as a “human being” versus a “human doing” through 100% focused re-charging sessions that empower and hold you accountable to achieve your personal and professional best. How can coaching help? Coaching can help physicians and medical students in the following ways:

  • Build resilience resilience to and navigate through the ongoing uncertainty of the pandemic.
  • Support physicians who are stuck, burned out or suffering from feeling the effects of imposter syndrome
  • A professional coach can help in these situations. Read on to learn more about coaching and how it can support physician wellness and sustainability.

Why is coaching effective?

Coaching is a journey of transformation. From a neuroscience perspective, coaches help clients to create new neural pathways. At first these are tenuous connections, but with practice, reflection, support and repetition, they become reliable new ways of being and relating, leading to greater fulfillment.

Coaching reduces stress. When we are stressed, it is much more difficult to control impulses, have empathy, think creatively and make effective plans. When stress is reduced through the tools and techniques of professional coaching, clients become more creative versus reactive and emotionally intelligent in their relationships.

Coaching supports clients to “return to themselves”. To find their own resiliency and capacity during times of uncertainty. This restores some sense of control and the ability to see more opportunity in what feels like an uncontrollable world.

Coaching helps process emotions. The release and acknowledgement of true feelings and concerns in a trusted space is liberating and calming. Identifying limiting assumptions and beliefs prompts a shift into more open and responsive mindsets.

Coaching uses the reflection-action-reflection cycle of learning. A coach helps identify what you want, try some things to put into action, reflect on what you learned and then continue this positive cycle as you move into new ways of being and therefore new results in your life.

Coaching is outcome focused. Goals and growth outcomes are established at the start of a coaching relationship to support accountability, monitor progress and empower new learning.

Partnering with a coach is a lifetime investment that can set physicians on a clear path to greater personal and professional fulfillment. Coaching sessions are often conducted online or by telephone which works well for time-pressed physicians. Learn more at Physician Burnout & Leadership Coaching.

As always, please feel free to share your thoughts and experiences.

Pass it on 

Hi I’m Mary-Ellen

ICF Accredited global executive coach & organizational strategist known for unlocking potential & moving ideas to meaningful action through leadership, sustainability & communication. It’s my job to make you shine!


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