Welcome to the MedEdWell podcast, empowering physicians to get work done at work, then be able to reflect and choose what is important for both their life and medical practice. I’m your host, Dr. Ryan Stegink, general pediatrician, and life coach for physicians.

Hi, everyone, and welcome to another episode of the MedEdWell Podcast. I’m so excited to be here with you today. And to be able to help you take your next step in your wellness. Thank you so much for sharing these episodes for engaging with these concepts. And taking your next step. Because having physicians and other medical professionals be in a good spot and to be growing and to be able to care for themselves, then they’re better able to care for others. So I’m so proud of you for showing up for yourself. And showing up with me today.

Because this is such an important episode. I recently had the opportunity to speak to a group of pediatric residents about physician wellness. And I was able to share about Dr. DNL, Indonesia’s physician coach Support Program, where there’s one on one peer support for physicians who want to talk with a physician coach. And after giving the talk, I opened it up for questions. And one of the questions was, what is life coaching? And then do you think physician would benefit from seeing a therapist or a coach. And it made me realize that it would actually be great to step back and do some episodes on the fundamentals of life coaching and core concepts because just because I’ve gone through a coach certification program, these things aren’t necessarily familiar to other physicians, just like at one time, they weren’t for me.

So many of you know my story. I am a primary care pediatrician. And eight months out of residency, I went through burnout. I felt like I had a lack of control over my schedule, over my notes that kept coming home. I was doing them in the evenings and on weekends. And after a 10 day stretch of both inpatient newborn nursery coverage and my clinic, I was just exhausted. And this has been building for a while. And my wife and I were talking and she said to me, something has to change. And she was right. So I talked to my leadership and was able to get my time reduced. I got some additional training in medical record optimization and how to build in that system. That was something that interested me. And then eventually, a couple years later, I decided to start a podcast to help share some of the things that I had learned with others.

I still didn’t really know what coaching was about though I had heard a couple of physicians who were coaches, they were sharing about what they had learned some of these concepts, but it was more in the context of well, they had started a podcast and I thought, why can’t I do that, too. So part of my podcasting journey, I was exposed to coaching concepts, and even had the opportunity to be coached myself on a couple of large group coaching calls. And I was able to observe and benefit from observing others being coached. So it wasn’t just me having to be on the hot seat. It was also getting to see others process different things they were going through. And yeah, be able to see the benefit in a group setting. And ultimately, it came to the point where I was like, I really want to do this to both to be able to help other physicians, and to be a way to kind of diversify what I was up to in medicine and being able to help others and my family.

So I chose to get certified through the Life Coach School. There are actually lots of opportunities in certifying organizations because there’s not one central standardized criteria for what makes a life coach and some of the physicians that I had seen and experienced coaching from I respected them and how they went about coaching, and many of them had been trained at the same place. And so it was just a choice that I choose to may chose to make and moved forward with. And I’m really glad I did. Through that program, that training program, I learned so much about myself, and gained so many skills and felt really equipped as a coach. There’s nothing unique or magical about going through this, going through this type of program. But ultimately, it’s about really growing and owning just the capacity to be able to, to speak into the lives of others, and to have certain tools, because now I am more equipped to answer questions that people come up with, that people bring to me or in a coaching.

Coaching is not something that I just do on anybody that’s part of the training takes all this, this is not something that you want to just offer to your friends and family, unsolicited. It’s in this specific context of, Hey, would you like to work with me as a coach? And then if they say yes, then it’s a it’s more of a process of how do I reflect back? What yours? What you’re thinking, what you’re experiencing? And how, how can we bring more awareness to them? So I now feel much more equipped to be able to answer this physicians question that they posed at the end of my talk about, so what is life coaching? So we’ll start with that today.

What is life coaching? And what can it help with? So life coaching is a set of tools that allows a coach to help bring awareness to what’s already present, in your experience, helps get through to the root cause of what’s really going on here. So there’s situations or facts that are out there. Circumstances are as described in the framework, as I learned as a part of my coach training. And these are things that anyone can agree on.

Maybe it’s my friend said, some words to me, because they may, I may think they said, something that was rude. Well, that’s maybe my interpretation of it. And certain thought I had, and many of us may say that a certain thing happened. And therefore I feel a particular way. But in between that feeling and whatever those words, were, there’s particular thought that that each of us has about that circumstance, what what exactly was said, what was the text message that was received. And so that thought about the circumstance actually creates our feelings. Many times these thoughts are unintentional, or just not really, that we’re not really conscious of them. And then from these feelings, we take particular actions, and ultimately create certain results for ourselves.

So by understanding what actually is there, then a good coach gives some space for the individual to receive and experience that awareness. And then ultimately be able to decide whether that thought serves them, and creates the result for that individual that they want. Or if they want to choose another thought. But ultimately, it’s not up to the coach to be able to decide, hey, do I like where this is going? Do I think it needs to change? That’s a certain judgment that it’s just not part of how we come alongside someone else in coaching. It’s saying, as this awareness is generated, then ultimately you can decide if that’s something you want to stick with or or not. And in the coaching session, it that may not be even something you, you know about, and that’s okay.

So, for example, I got coached once on a conversation I had with my wife and we had a particular trunk that and My grandma had given me it was probably about

100 years old. And so it was in the family for a while. And we had just moved. And we’re thinking about how furniture would go. And my wife said, let’s paint the trunk. And I got defensive. I said, No, no, no, no, I don’t want to do that. And I was being inflexible. And so ultimately, because of how I responded, I ended up creating distance from my wife in our relationship in that moment, and essentially, I didn’t care about her opinion.

So as the coach went through some of the questions and kind of brought out when I was actually thinking, when my wife said that, that caused me to, to create that feeling of feeling defensive, I realized some of these unconscious thoughts were bubbling to the surface. As we went through those questions, thoughts, like, I don’t want to paint grandma’s trunk. And deeper to I miss my grandma, who passed away about a year ago. And this reminds me of how much I love her and care about her. Even started crying in the middle of the session, it was, it was really powerful. So coaching can be used on any thing that someone wants to bring, to, to discuss, it may be some sort of struggle, or it could be something that’s just come up that has been confusing how you decided to react to it. And or you just reacted to it.

And not that you decided to necessarily, it could be things that are perceived as positive, others, maybe negative, because there are those things in life that are either on the positive or the negative side. And sometimes there’s a mix of both. So coaching can also be used for working towards goals, working backwards from where you want to go. And the actions that you’re going to need to take the feelings that you will need to generate to take those particular actions.

And ultimately, the thoughts that you’re going to need to think in order to generate those feelings, then you have intentional thoughts that you can hold on to. And this is part of shifting your mindset from the stories and limiting beliefs that each of us hold on to moving towards thoughts that are more useful that serve us in order to move forward on whatever that is that we’re dealing with. The first we talked about what is life coaching? And then secondly, why why should a physician consider life coaching, we’re getting coached.

Now, I think, truly anyone would benefit from coaching, who wants to gain this awareness to understand why they do what they do, wants to grow or has some sort of goals. But specifically for physicians, with all the external pressures that are on physicians these days, not to mention the personal issues and thought patterns that each of us bring as high functioning high achieving medical professionals. Getting to step back and really examine our thoughts. This can be a gift. With Bernal with burnout, and moral injury affecting so many physicians, myself among them. Coaching can be a great way to restore some of the agency and self determination through these mindset shifts, fighting the loss of autonomy and other stressors.

Now, in my employ position, there are circumstances that I can’t quickly change. And while they previously have led to stress, frustration, even resentment using coaching in these tools is changed my own experience in medicine for the better. As part of my coach certification program, I was able to do a number of free coaching calls as I honed my skills, including with some other medical professionals. To illustrate why you should at least consider coaching. Listen to part of the testimonial that one of the individuals volunteered without prompting him After my session, quote, he reflected my words back to me in a way that helps me to analyze them more thoroughly, and get to the heart of what I’ve been hoping to accomplish in several areas of my personal and professional life. I found this session more helpful and insightful than a therapy session, and quote, how’s that for a boost of confidence as I finished up my training program?

Yeah. So all that to say, yes, physicians should give coaching a shot, rather than just dismissing it as something that’s woowoo. It, there actually are randomized control trials showing the efficacy of coaching for physicians, including in JAMA. So it’s just something that even if it’s not been part of what you’ve thought, oh, yeah, these are tools to really help me with my wellness. I want you to give it a shot. So, we’ve covered so far today, what is life coaching? Why it’s for physicians as well. But then, I also want to go through how life coaching is different from therapy.

And the question I received from the physician in my talk about physicians, should they get a therapist or a coach. So I want to start with a coach is not a replacement for a therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist. And depending on the mental health issues that may be coexistent therapy is definitely still good. It can help with a whole range of things, and can allow for addressing any medication needs. But coaching is able to look at the individual’s current thoughts about circumstances that may be recent or past. But the current thoughts create the current experience, even if it’s about something that happened a long time ago.

So in coaching, we start from where you are, and the thoughts that are there. And about the individuals, thoughts and results that they’re creating for themselves. Even in the midst of group coaching, that one person is examining their thoughts and experience, not someone else’s. So if I’m having an issue with someone else, or not coaching that someone else, it’s how does, how I show up? How do the thoughts that I have the feelings I generate the actions I take? How did those create results for me? And then how do I want to consider how that’s all playing out? Do I want to change it? Do I want to see oh, that’s how I’m showing up here. But it’s also affecting me in other areas. So it can allow for that generating awareness on one specific issue.

And then I as the recipient of that coaching, or whoever it is, can then generalize that to other areas of their life. And additionally, in thinking about coaching versus therapy, my training, it also did really well to help draw out the line for referring for higher level of care needed, especially with regards to suicidality. And just saying, I want to be your coach. But I think you need some additional help, because these are resources when you are having these type of thoughts, or you might be harm to yourself or someone else.

So in thinking about coaching versus therapy about counseling, it’s it doesn’t have to be just one or the other, you can have both a therapist and a coach. So I personally met with a counselor with my wife after our miscarriages working through grief. But I’ve also really benefited from some of these coaching experiences I’ve been able to have. So can be that you have either a therapist or a coach or both. But hopefully this helps you understand a little more about the different approaches, especially if you might have been more familiar with the therapy model.

So where does this leave you today? Where are you? How are you really doing Have the last few years in medicine worn you down the patient care, the charting something else. Maybe you have a big goal, but you just feel like there may be something holding you back. Or maybe somewhere that you feel like you’re sabotaging yourself

, by going back to the same thoughts, the same stories that you keep telling yourself. First, I want you to pause and repeat after me, I am human.

The next I can care for myself and grow. So part of growing involves receiving outside input from others and to help us see things that we can’t see on our own. Or just to be reminded of some of those things that that we know that we know or are good for us, or that these are passions and unique abilities that each of us have. But sometimes it’s they just get pushed to the side or we lose sight of what’s really important to us.

So if you know that getting that outside input might look like talking with a coach, I want you to know that I’m here for you. If you if you want to chat and find out if we might be a good fit, you can book a call at mededwell.com/coaching. But there are so many coaches out there that even if one if I’m not a good fit for you, there’s others out there. And so I want you to get the help that you need. And every physician deserves a coach. And so there’s more than enough physicians to go around for the coaches. So I want you to get what you need.

If you know that coaching around your charting, and your experience with charting and medicine, is something that you want to work on. You can also get more information about my upcoming live launch of my Charting Mastery course, where I’ll walk you through concepts that will help you it uses some of the coaching things, but it will help you get done charting faster, and home sooner for what matters most to you. And you can check that out by going to charting mastery.net. And so whether you’re ready for a coach, you want to work with me someone else. But I want you to just consider it to keep an open mind if the opportunity arises for you to get coaching. Because where you are, and where many of us want to go. It’s a it’s a journey. And we can’t do this alone. We’ve seen that in our medical training that my anatomy professor really helped me understand how the body works, and where things are, and how it all works together. I couldn’t do that all on my own. Just reading the textbook, it would have taken me so much longer than to have someone to say, this is what you need to know.

These are the answers to some of the questions you’re bringing to me. And how can you really grow into the position that you’re becoming? So no matter what your next step is, I want you to take a moment and to think about it today this week. But then take action. I can’t wait to hear where you go. I want to thank you for joining me on today’s really important episode to discuss what are some of the big things to understand about life coaching, how it’s different from therapy and how every physician could benefit from having a coach. So whatever your next step is, go take it, to care for yourself and for others, for your patience and for your community. Thank you so much for all that you do that for joining me here today. Please share this episode with another physician or someone else who might really benefit from coaching. Again, if you know that you want to join me for some charting coaching in this course. I’m actually splitting out the course and the cord coaching components. So to make it more accessible it, just take your next step. Again, thanks for all you do, and have a great day. And now for our important disclaimer.

Dr. Ryan Stegink is a practicing general pediatrician. But the MedEdWell podcast does not reflect the views, opinions or beliefs of his employer, nor is affiliated University. Additionally, the MedEdWell podcast is for educational and entertainment purposes only, and should not be considered advice regarding financial, legal student loan, medical or any other specific topic. In no way does listening to this podcast establish a patient physician relationship or any other professional relationship between Dr. Stegink and the listener. Nor does it establish a patient physician relationship between the listener and the guest of the podcast. Listeners should consult with their own medical professional for any medical advice. The content of this podcast is not a substitute for professional medical care. The information provided is believed to be accurate, but is not exhaustive. It’s correct at the time of recording. For more information, please visit MedEdWell.com/disclaimer. Thank you for your support of the MedEdWell podcast.

Thank you again for joining me on the MedEdWell podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to hit the subscribe button, so you don’t miss any future episodes. If you could also take a moment to leave a review on Apple podcasts, I would greatly appreciate it. Reviews help others find the podcast and benefit from the content. Finally, if you have any questions, suggestions for future episodes, or just want to connect, you can reach me through my website at MedEdWell.com. Thanks again, and I’ll talk to you next time on the MedEdWell podcast.