Who can be a coach?
A coach differs from both an adviser and a mentor in that coaches aren’t student advocates (as mentors often are) nor must they possess a significant track record of experience that is relevant to a student (as a mentor typically does). Panelists indicated that, in most instances, coaches were faculty members who coached in addition to other academic responsibilities. Though most coaches held advanced degrees, not all are physicians.
Jacob: For our coaches for the first two years of our new curriculum, we have both physician coaches and investigator coaches - all are faculty. The physicians and investigators [a post-graduate faculty member who is not a physician] work in pairs. Each has their own five students to directly coach, but the students can also access the other coach in the pair. As we prepare to implement the third year of our new curriculum, we anticipate that the students will each acquire a new coach, who will be a physician and ideally, one in a specialty of interest to the student.
Eric Skye, MD, associate professor at University of Michigan: For our medical students we have chosen to only use faculty physicians as coaches for both role modeling and logistical reasons. Our institution, however, has a robust coaching program that physicians access and most of those coaches are not physicians but are institutional leaders trained in a formal coaching program.
What student information should be accessible to coaches?
The consensus among panelists seemed to be that the more metrics coaches are able to access the better equipped they are to get a clear picture of a student’s strengths and weaknesses.
Nicole Deiorio, MD, professor of emergency medicine and assistant dean for student affairs, Oregon Health & Science University: Coaches should have full access to student data, so students can't paint a selective picture of themselves when speaking with their coach, either intentionally or because they don't have good self-assessment skills yet.
Do you provide coaching for residents?
The consensus seemed to be that there is value in providing coaching to residents. The type of coaching might differ—a chapter on this topic in the handbook says that coaches should work to build confidence when working with residents. Finding time is also a challenge of coaching a medical resident.
Ronda Mourad, MD, assistant professor of medicine, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine: Our coaching program includes categorical internal medicine residents, and this year we expanded it to include [pediatric] residents. We started the program in academic year 2016–2017, so our current PGY-2 and PGY-1 classes participate in coaching.
Amy Westcott, MD, associate professor of geriatrics and palliative medicine and Hippocrates Scholar Program director, Penn State College of Medicine: At [Penn State] we offer both formal and informal coaching programs for residents and fellows. The more formal programs are learner-centered and goal-oriented. The informal ones are more consultant-type coaching.