Many physicians don’t have the time and often the training to provide life coaching services to their patients and communities. In spite of that, I think physicians, as a group, are the most prepared of any profession to help people shape their own destinies through effective life coaching. Below, I explain why.
- They care deeply about people. Teddy Roosevelt once said, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”. Most doctors I know went into medicine because they love to take care of patients. Genuine interest in people and the desire to help them gives us the moral right to speak into their lives to make them better.
- They have incredibly high personal standards. Most doctors hold themselves to very high standards.
- They have experience setting goals and accomplishing dreams. The journey to becoming a doctor is a tough one. Everyone who completes it has set goals and worked hard at achieving those goals. That experience provides a platform for coaching others to pursue their dreams.
- They have shaped their own destinies. Life coaching is about helping people shape their own destinies. When a person becomes a doctor, they have taken steps to shape their destiny and position themselves in a position to serve others.
- High Emotional Intelligence. A lot of doctors understand their own emotions and the emotions of others and have learned how to communicate effectively with people in light of their emotional state.
- They know a lot about life. All good doctors are students of life, not merely of health. All good doctors understand that a person’s health doesn’t exist in a vacuum but lives on within the context of that person’s life. What happens to a person’s life happens to their health.
- They know a lot about the human being – Physically, Psychologically, Socially, and spiritually. Many doctors, especially primary care doctors study the human being from conception to death. As part of their training, they learn what makes the human being tick. They know the human body works. And recently, a lot of doctors are rightly developing a great interest in studying the interrelationships between the body, mind and the spirit and their effect on health. It is from that foundation that treatment of disease happens. Effective life coaching must also be built on that foundation.
- Continuous Education. Doctors are continuous learners of themselves, their experiences, and the changing scope and practice of medicine. They are always learning to understand the new landscape of health and healthcare.
- Humility. While I’ve met some proud doctors, most doctors I know are very humble. Humility is one of the greatest qualities of an effective life coach.
- Good teachers. Part of the training of physicians involves a great deal of teaching. They are taught to “Learn one, do one, and teach one.” They are trained to teach residents and junior physicians, to train nurses and allied healthcare workers, and to educate and teach their patients. Great coaches are great teachers.
- Access. Physicians have access to their patients and quite often to others in their community. They have access to many people when they are at a low point –when they are sick and tired of being sick and tired and are ready to change their ways and lead more productive lives. That’s when they are most open to changing their lives and when they are most likely to be compliant to the life coaching prescription.
- Intelligence. Physicians are some of the smartest and most articulate people in the world.
- Life skills & Ability to get things done. Doctors are successful people. Their success doesn’t simply come from intelligence but from life skills and attitudes that they learned early on that helped them become successful in life. They owe it to their communities to teach these life skills which are the secret to success.
- Public Respect. In general, patients and the public respect and admire their physicians. That makes it easier for life coaching to occur.
In spite of the above reasons, we know that not every physician is ready to become an effective life coach. Medical school and residency curriculums don’t promote the concept of life coaching. Many physicians focus narrowly on the disease processes that they don’t see beyond that. Yet, there are a lot of physicians, like myself, who have taken on the responsibility of going out and training themselves to fill in the gaps that medical school or residency didn’t provide so that they can become great life coaches to their patients and communities. This blog provides an opportunity for the public to connect and learn from physicians who have a passion for life coaching.