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Free Content Coaching physicians in training to lead improvement in clinical microsystems: a qualitative study on the role of the clinical coach

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Purpose Our purpose is to describe how coaches who are clinical faculty help in the developmental process of residents to become better physicians and to lead the improvement of quality and safety in the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Leadership Preventive Medicine Residency Program (DHLPMR).

Methods Using a semi-structured interview guide, eight coaches were interviewed and two focus groups were held with a total of nine residents. The qualitative data were content analysed to understand how both the coaches and residents perceive coaches' work and their role.

Results The interviews with the coaches suggest that they take great pride in their work: they find it to be challenging and meaningful. The coaches use various skills and techniques – asking questions, listening deeply, observing the resident in action, offering encouragement and challenging the resident to think or act differently. The residents also perceive the work of the coach to help them progress on their learning journey. The role of the coach tends to go beyond coaching residents relative to improving an aspect of health care performance to creating the conditions for transformation and growth for the residents and the coaches.

Conclusion The DHLPMR program is a unique residency program that has the intention to foster the development of future physician leaders who have the ability to both practise medicine and improve the clinical practices in which they work. The coaches are a vital ingredient in this program as they convey the residents/fellows on their leadership learning journey.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2008

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