Beware of the Coach Trap: Knowing What to Look for In a Physician Coach

    Executive coaching has been around for decades and has proven successful in many facets from business and marketing to health and healing. "Life coaches", "performance coaches", and "relationship coaches" are gaining popularity. However, these days, everyone wants to be a coach. Furthermore, now that our industry is becoming aware of the benefits of coaching, physician coaching is becoming a "thing".There are so many people jumping on the "I wanna be a coach" bandwagon, that it can make choosing the right coach overwhelming. However, there are a 8 key things that when choosing a coach are important to look for to know that they are not only legit, but are as successful in their industry as they say they are.

    • 1. They are not only trained but have Years of Experience – Beware of the coach who either isn't formally trained, or who has trained, but not truly built a thriving practice of their own. A truly successful coach has both training and experience (with results to back it up). This is particularly true if you are thinking about physician career coaching or if you are becoming a physician entrepreneur.
    • 2. They have a clear System for getting you results – Some coaches fly by the seat of their pants, and while they may get results, those results may be inconsistent. With no system, you can't really say what works and what doesn't. Coaches that have a clear system are coaches who get reliable results every time. That doesn't meant they aren't flexible. It also doesn't mean that they aren't customizing their program to your needs. It simply means they have a clear foundational path to take you on that has proven successful outcomes.
    • 3.What Say & What They Teach You = What They Do (Congruency) – If a coach is telling you to do one thing, but clearly doing another, that is a huge red flag. It may be that they are using more advanced tactics, but you need to inquire to be sure that they either have done or are doing what they are coaching you to do.
    • 4. They Never Shame You, They Empower You – Shame, condescension, judgment, and criticism, have no place in a coaching relationship.
    • 5. They don't badmouth other coaches – If you speak with a coach who actually badmouths other coaches, that's a big red flag. Even if a coach doesn't agree with another coach's methods, they can be gracious and tactful in how they redirect your attention to why your coach might be a better fit. Additionally, the best coaches actually collaborate with other coaches.I love sending referrals to fellow coaches to consult on things that may be area specific while coaching my clients. As an example, I frequently send clients who are in contract negotiation to a fellow physician coach who is an expert in this (Dr. Bonnie Mason-Simpson), and recently referred a client for resume review to a fellow coach Dr. Laura Fijolek-McKain.Here's the thing. Great coaches live in the world of abundance. When we collaborate, it makes for the best experience for our clients.
    • 6. They Are Willing to Call you to the Carpet on Your BS – While the previous statement holds true, it doesn't mean that coaches are lenient. The best coaches are phenomenal listeners, and will call you to the carpet on your BS. Coaches that let their clients "slide" with poor mindset, following through on their goals, or letting things like "fear of failure" take them out of the game are not holding their end of the bargain.
    • 7. They Are Always furthering their OWN education (via coaching, masterminds, etc) – All coaches should have some type of mentor, coach, or mastermind to continue to elevate themselves and further their own knowledge. A coach that is always learning will be an ongoing valuable resource to you. An important thing to seek out is a coach who is not only always learning but also willing to SHARE what she is learning with you. If they are learning but not sharing, that's a red flag.
    • 8.100% Transparency (The Full Story … About Themselves) – Coaches are honest about where they are. Some coaches want to appear "perfect", but we are all human, and while a coach should definitely maintain a boundary of professionalism, great coaches don't mind getting a little vulnerable and sharing their full experiences when it is appropriate and warranted.
    • 9. Their Clients Are Getting Results and Willing to Testify to that – This perhaps is the MOST important thing to look for. All of the other things may be checked off in the "Pro's" section but if THIS is not checked off, it's time to say goodbye. When looking for the right coach/mentor remember, flash doesn't = success. Similarly, success for the coach doesn't = success for their clients. It takes specific skills, training & listening to be able to coach someone else to the same levels of success that they achieved. Some of the most successful results producing coaches are the least flashy about it. And similarly, some of the most successful coaches are unable to help others replicate those results.
    • A coach may give you testimonials verbally but if they don't have someone who has written them a reference or (even better) willing to speak to you on behalf of the coach, then that is a huge red flag, and you should tread very lightly in moving forward with such a coach.

    In the end you have to Trust Your Gut. Physician coaching is becoming ever more popular, and while it is a very valuable tool for us to have, it's important that you do your research. Ask questions about not only their success but the results they help others produce. Be willing to invest in yourself. Great coaches (especially physician career coaches and entrepreneur coaches- https://stressfreemommd.com/career-fulfillment.html) are not cheap, but if they meet the criteria, they are usually worth every penny spent. The results you produce with a coach is directly correlated to what you are willing to invest both monetarily & in time. Finally, be mindful of the company you keep. If you have people in your life pushing toward forwarding your education, you are in the right crowd. If your tribe consists of "haters" and "naysayers", you may consider finding you a different tribe. An empowering tribe will exponentially multiply your successes.

    Your feedback is valuable. Feel free to leave comments on this article with your insights and ideas about what we've written.

    Reclaim Your Time & Freedom. Create a Career You Love and Live a Life YOU Design.Learn more about our physician career coaching and entrepreneurship programs. Go to www.stressfreemommd.com

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