Coaching for the Burned-Out Doctor | White Coat Investor


[Editor’s Note: You’re going to be hearing about physician life coaching a lot this week on the blog and the podcast. We have teamed up with The Physician Philosopher to provide this valuable service for those of our readers and listeners in need of it. In today’s post, Dr. Turner explains how he benefitted from coaching himself so much that he sought out additional training from The Life Coach School. If you are a doctor and you are having a hard time balancing all of your responsibilities as a partner, parent, and physician or you find yourself feeling burned out or overwhelmed, professional coaching for doctors by doctors is now being offered through the WCI-endorsed Alpha Coaching Experience starting today 10/24. Enrollment is only open until 11/2. If you want to learn more, but are not quite ready to make a commitment, check out one of the three free webinars Jimmy is running this week titled Defeating Burnout Without Leaving Medicine.  Click here to claim your seat in this free webinar. Full Disclosure: As you may or may not recall, I am a minority owner of The Physician Philosopher and thus the Alpha Coaching Experience. The links are also affiliate links, meaning if you buy through them it does not cost you any more, but does support the WCI Mission.]

Life Coaching is not a new phenomenon.

It has been around for some time in other fields, namely in the form of business/executive coaches or individual coaches for elite athletes/performers.  Many other fields have recognized the benefits of having an outside party help you with your “thought life” in order to improve your emotional state, actions, and results.  Yet, it has taken the majority of medicine much longer to recognize the benefits of physician life coaching.

The most recent example of this being a JAMA 2019 article showing that professional coaching produced less burnout and a better quality of life for those who participated in it.

Why does physician life coaching provide such a huge benefit?

It all starts with our thoughts.

 

The Life Coach School Model

I started my journey into life coaching through the Self Coaching Scholars program provided at the Life Coach School.

What happened next?

It changed my life by teaching me to change my thoughts.

The model that they teach at The Life Coach School is simple, but life-changing: Thoughts lead to Feelings and those Feelings lead to Actions.

Those actions are what determine the trajectory of our life.  Yet, if we can learn to change our thoughts, then the rest (our feelings/emotions and the actions that follow) will change, too.

Yet, it isn’t as easy as you think to change your thoughts.  Those thoughts have potentially been there for years.  If so, they have likely turned into beliefs.  Unraveling that takes time and effort.

For doctors, it also requires getting a physician’s life coach.

 

Physician Life Coaching Topics

All of this begs a question.  What areas of our lives stand to benefit the most from physician life coaching?

Honestly, the sky is the limit, but before we answer the questions, let me introduce a concept to you called “Buffering.”

Buffering is what we do when we choose to do something in order to avoid a negative emotion that we don’t want to experience.  This negative emotion might be anxiety, depression, overwhelm, or anger.  You might buffer these emotions by overeating, overdrinking alcohol, or overworking.

physician life coaching

So, you can see that there are some obvious areas where coaching could stand to help.

Here Is a High-Yield List of the Ways That Physician Life Coaching Stands to Benefit Most Doctors:

  • How to become a better husband or dad
  • Finding work-life balance
  • Decreasing burnout
  • How to have tough conversations with your chair/CEO/boss
  • Dealing with buffering (overdrinking, overworking)
  • Helping to combat feeling overwhelmed
  • How to take massive action instead of delaying that “dream” career
  • Pursuing entrepreneurial efforts inside or outside of medicine (side gigs, anyone?)
  • Money coaching to help provide financial freedom

Honestly, the sky is the limit here.  There isn’t an area of life that doesn’t fit into the model or that you couldn’t improve through Physician Life Coaching.

 

The Secret Ingredient: Self-Coaching

Everything above may sound too good to be true, but it’s not.  There is a secret ingredient that lets life coaching work, and it is inside of you.

No, really.  It is.

Every answer you need is within you.  You just need someone to help you find it, practice it, and hold you accountable to believing it.

It is a coach’s job to help choices/decisions you make unintentionally to become a very intentional decision.  For example, if you overdrink to avoid a three-nager (aka a 3-year old with a 13-year-old’s attitude) yelling at you while you homeschool two children on your days off when all you want to do is take a break…. there is a way to fix that.

How do I know?  Because that was me before Life Coaching.

I learned, through coaching, that I needed to reset that dopaminergic system where I learned Stress = Urge to Drink = Hit of Dopamine.  If I could learn to change my thoughts about the situation or to simply watch my stress when it happened (instead of acting on it automatically to get that hit of dopamine), then I could choose to drink when I want and how much I want.

Now, I decide on how much and what I’ll drink 24 hours in advance, and never drink without that happening.  I’ve avoided overdrinking 99% of the time since I started this journey.

The crazy part is that the answer was inside of me all the time. It just took life coaching to help me realize it.

While your problem may not be overdrinking (and maybe something else on that list above)… physician life coaching can help.

~Jimmy

Welcome to the world of Life Coaching!  If you are interested in being a member of Jimmy’s Alpha Group for life, career, and money coaching for doctors, click here. 

 

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