Coach, Don’t Just Teach


‘Both teaching and coaching are of course helping someone learn a particular skill or sharing a certain piece of knowledge. Teaching however, is primarily a one way interaction. A person that knows something shows you how to do something or tells you some piece of information that they know.

Coaching on the other had requires a cyclical, ongoing interaction. In order to coach someone, you need to first teach them something, then observe the student, and then provide feedback again. Unless all three of these interactions are taking place, it cannot be considered coaching.

The biggest difference is that, ultimately, teaching is about the teacher and coaching is about the student. The best teachers aren’t just teachers. They’re also coaches’. [Ref]


Percent in Highest Bracket in Patient Satisfaction Scores - Pre-Post Arm Differences for Hospitalists - Duke Coaching Communication Skills Study

Effective clinician-patient communication is essential for high-quality care and is linked to better patient adherence and greater satisfaction for both patients and clinicians. Direct one-on-one coaching has the potential to improve clinician-patient communication as well as clinician and patient satisfaction compared with other techniques commonly used. This was tested its effectiveness in a randomized controlled trial of 62 clinicians at Duke University School of Medicine.

In conclusion, the study found that the relatively low-intensity coaching intervention improved patient satisfaction and clinician communication. Clinicians found the coaching to be acceptable and helpful. Moving this work toward implementation requires a fully-powered trial that directly assesses patient satisfaction and other patient-centered outcomes and objectively assesses communication skills in a control group.

NEJM Catalyst January 2019LINK

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