FEATURE “An executive coach can really help

a physician,” she says. “The leader can receive immediate help on specific issues of leadership that would often take a long time to learn about in school. It is one-on-one, real-time teaching.”

Numerous Benefits Executive coaches can help physicians accomplish a wide range of objectives, Davidson says. “Coaches will work with physicians

Shaping Leadership

Use executive coaching to develop effective physician leaders BY ROBERT KURTZ

by reading a book, says Jane Thilo, MD, founder and chief executive offi- cer of Leaders Go First, a provider of executive coaching services based in Bellevue, Washington. “The ability to provide strong lead-


ership takes a lot of work and practice,” says Thilo, who is also an anesthesiol- ogist and previously served as a medi- cal director and business administra- tor of an ASC. “When physicians can learn to become effective leaders, they can really inspire their staff to deliver the highest quality patient-centered care and practice fiscal responsibility.” A strong physician leader can

play a pivotal role in the success of an ASC, says Jason Davidson, found- ing principal of executive coaching


obody becomes a skilled physi- cian or an effective leader just

firm PicketFenceConsulting in Orange County, California. “They will not just be regarded for their clinical excel- lence and standing in the community as physicians but will also have func- tional responsibility for the growth and direction of the organization,” he says. “They can help establish a culture to empower staff at all levels—both man- agement and line staff—to not only work harder but have goals that are aligned throughout the organization. There are missed opportunities when physicians are not similarly aligned and leading the way.” With full schedules that often do

not allow time for them to return to school to study management, physi- cians are turning to executive coaching to help them become better managers and leaders, Thilo says.

early in the engagement to identify goals and skills the physician is work- ing to improve upon,” he says. “An important piece of the coaching ses- sion is also to provide a forum for phy- sicians to vent and bring other issues to the table without worrying about the fact that these issues may not be directly tied to the top goals. Coaching presents an opportunity to discuss such issues and problem solve other profes- sional challenges they may be facing.” Michelle Burns, founder of Design

Your Destiny, a provider of personal and professional coaching services based in Le Sueur, Minnesota, and an International Coach Federation pro- fessional certified coach, says many physicians lack an objective sounding board within their organization, and an executive coach can fill this void. “To simply have a place to voice con-

cerns, frustrations or get an impartial opinion on something is a hugely valu- able part of executive coaching,” she says. “Oftentimes, physicians may feel too vulnerable as leaders to even explore those areas when everyone is looking to them for strength. Since they know my job as a coach is to help them achieve the outcomes they want, it can be easier for them to speak openly with me.” Davidson adds, “Coaching is not about rooting out the physician’s weak- nesses but to truly work together from two different perspectives in order to develop skills and ensure the success of the leader. There should be an open, safe communi- cation channel between the two parties.”

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