Doctor Coach

Don't teach more, coach better!


Coaching Principles

Doctor Coach is a deliberate practice approach to teaching any clinical skill including physical exam, procedure, communication and critical thinking skills. Each step in the cycle is associated with specific coaching strategies and tools to enable busy clinical coaches to use their teaching time more effectively by better understanding and targeting the developmental needs of their learners. The ultimate goal of Doctor Coach is to teach learners to become one of their own coaches through the repeated cycles of observation, feedback and practice.

See the full Doctor Coach cycle.

DC simplified cycle 121613

1. Preparing to Coach

Knowing the progressive developmental steps or milestones that learners take towards skills mastery in a given domain is the starting point for effective coaching.

2. Establishing a Coaching Relationship

The coach, the learner, and the relationship they create through their coaching dialogue and work together form the foundation of a successful coaching relationship.

3. Setting and Using Goals

Establishing mutual and explicit goals creates the overarching focus for a given coaching relationship and ensures that the coach and learner are on the same page.

4. Constructing the Coaching Environment

Ensuring sufficient opportunities for deliberate practice within an effective learning zone, while building in time for observation, feedback and reflection, creates an effective coaching environment.

5. Observing the Learner Performance

Intentionally and objectively observing the learner's performance is the critical precursor to assessing learners and discussing feedback with them that targets their specific needs.

6. Assessing Learner Performance

Synthesizing observations based on milestone achievement focuses the assessment on which aspects of the performance to reinforce and to correct when planning learner feedback.

7. Discussing Feedback

Effective feedback requires an ongoing dialogue between the coach and the learner in order to provide the learner with relevant external data that can be used to guide their skills practice. 

8. Establishing Practice Objectives

Deliberate practice relies on clear objectives about the specific component skills to be practiced, and establishes how the practice sessions will be constructed with available opportunities.

9. Engaging in Apprenticeship

Clear objectives guide how the learner and coach use the coaching enviroment and practice methods to provide the appropriate level of guidance, supervision and independant practice.

10. Summarizing for Evaluation

Summative evaluation is derived from cycles of formative assessments and other measures. It often serves as the exit point from a given coaching cycle or relationship.