Home Research Case Studies The Importance of Coaching in Creating A Whole New Doctor

The Importance of Coaching in Creating A Whole New Doctor

13 min read

Compiled by Margaret Cary, M.D.

Following are five essays written by students at the Georgetown University School of Medicine who participated in a program called: “A Whole New Doctor.” These essays are important to include, especially for those interested in coaching physicians. Through these essays, those who wish to coach physicians can see the backstory and more fully appreciate the huge difference they can make.


Nilesh Seshadri, MD Candidate Georgetown University School of Medicine Class of 2019

As I navigated my third year of medical school, I felt relatively confident in my new role as a student on the hospital wards. I learned the tools of the trade necessary to succeed, including showing up early, anticipating your residents’ needs, and eagerly offering a helping hand. I figured out early how to be a productive member of the team and continued to trudge through this difficult year, knowing that I would soon have more responsibility as a resident. However, I realized over time that most of my energy was devoted to learning the science of medicine and helping with tasks throughout the hospital. During this pivotal year, I had hardly focused on self-reflection and my own personal growth.

When I started my relationship with my current coach, Carole Napolitano, in January, I realized how invaluable it would be to have an unbiased third party work with me to discuss my goals and accomplishments over the course of my third year. The coaching relationship is a special one in which students have the opportunity to struggle through their problems and weigh possible solutions, all of which occurs through a goal-oriented framework. While these meetings help provide a tangible measure of progress, the coaching session also offers a time for us to engage in reflection and self-discovery. There are few occasions during the third year of medical school that we get the opportunity to stop and think about our medical decisions, the fates of our patients, or our fears about our future careers. However, coaches can offer an outside perspective on these issues, which may help us to better process what occurs within the walls of the hospital.

I have only been working with Carole for a short time, but I am incredibly grateful as to how she has helped me navigate my concerns and fears about my professional goals. We have discussed the ways in which I can find balance in my life as I prepare for residency, and we have struggled through the much larger challenge of figuring out what I hope to achieve during my career in medicine. While I have always been thankful for my supportive family and friends, I am impressed with Carole’s ability to push me so that I can better understand my own feelings and aspirations. I am still new to coaching, but based on the experiences that I have had at this critical point in my professional career, I strongly believe that this dynamic relationship will help me to gain new insights into my personal development as a soon-to-be physician.

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