As an Admissions Coach for iPEC, I get to talk to professionals of all backgrounds. Lately I’ve noticed that more and more of my one-on-one sessions have been with medical professionals who are facing uncertainty and overwhelm due to more patients, fewer doctors, and increasingly complex regulations. They feel they’re at a tipping point and they’re willing to try a new approach in order to get things done.
Coach training can help you move your practice forward.
Coaching is a skillset, one that offers practical and effective techniques whether you’re in hospital administration or a doctor working directly with patients. If you’re on the hunt for new ways to effectively lead a team, skillfully navigate organizational changes, and confidently confront roadblocks, a coach training program might be the answer you’re looking for.
Here are three ways that coaching methods can help you overcome some of your biggest challenges:
1. You’ll restructure the way you communicate with staff and other executives.
When a doctor checks on a patient, he or she might ask, “have you been taking your meds?” as a way to gauge the patient’s current mental and physical health. Questions like this seem natural to the doctor but to the patient, it feels more like a test. The result? A simple yes or no and potentially feelings of pressure or resentment from the patient.
Rather than phrasing questions in a yes or no manner, a useful coaching technique is to ask open ended questions. In this case, asking “how’s your medication been making you feel over the last few weeks?” is a much better way to open up a dialogue with patients. It releases tension or pressure and gives them the chance to explain the details about their health experience.
The same is true for communicating with staff and other physician executives. Rather than using your authority to tell others what to do, take the time to ask for opinions and gather feedback. This more collaborative approach typically leads to fewer hurt feelings, a greater sense of camaraderie, and better solutions.
2. You’ll learn tools that can help you connect on a deeper level with your patients.
If you ask a patient to imagine a trip to the hospital or doctor’s office, they’ll probably conjure up the same basic story: arriving at a sterile office, checking in at the front, and waiting too long for their appointment. More often than not, the waiting room is marked by frustration, nerves, resentment, and even fear. Fear of what the doctor may tell them, fear that they’ll not receive answers for the pain they’re in, or worse, that their concerns will not even be heard.
Listening is a coach’s most powerful tool.
You can gain vital information about your patient simply by giving them the time and space to speak. Listening from a coach’s perspective can illustrate what a patient is saying and what they’re not saying. They might not always stay on topic and they might give you superfluous details, but the goal is to allow them to make connections and draw conclusions on their own. Listening at this level also leads to deeper, more insightful questions that could be the key to getting through to your patients’ needs. (And also to changing their perception that they spent more time in the waiting room than they did with you.)
When a patient feels that their time is honored by their doctor, they’ll be more open-minded and receptive to feedback. They’re also more likely to take on an active role in leading a healthful lifestyle when you empower them to be in charge of their decisions.
3. You’ll lead a more balanced life.
Chances are, you became a doctor to care for people and make a difference in the lives of many . . . but somewhere along the way, you ended up dealing more with corporate affairs than patient concerns. You’ve piled up your To-Do list and feel like you’re drowning in tasks to meet budget goals and get more efficient. Maybe your own health has slipped as a result of the stress or maybe you’re not spending as much time with your family as you would like. Whatever your reasons for seeking more balance in your life, there are a variety of coaching tools to help you evaluate where you’re spending your time and how you can make simple yet powerful changes to pursue balance.
As a physician, you’ve already had years upon years of intense medical training so you might feel skeptical at the prospect of spending more time to learn a skillset that seems unconnected to what you do. However the knowledge and perspective you’ll gain from coach training will allow you to build stronger relationships with your patients, help you become a better leader among your coworkers, and lead to a healthier, happier YOU.
If you think you’d like to try a new approach, you can find out more about iPEC’s Coach Training Program here.