Thursday, August 25, 2011

Professional coaching as a non-clinical career for physicians

Author: Heather Fork, MD, CPCC

Want To Become A Certified Coach? How To Test The Waters First Without A Major Commitment

More physicians are becoming interested in using coaching skills to complement their clinical work. And a small but growing number are transitioning to full-time coaching. Wellness coaching is a popular choice for physicians, but there are many niches open to doctors. Some of the more common coaching specialties are:

• Wellness and Lifestyle Medicine
• Work/Life Balance
• Leadership
• Business
• Career

If you think coaching might be a good fit for you, there are ways to explore this direction without committing significant time and money.

The International Coach Federation (ICF), has a list of the 40+ accredited coaching programs in the United States. You can contact these programs to see which ones offer an introductory coaching course.

I did my training at Coaches Training Institute (CTI), which allows individuals to take their introductory course without committing to the entire program. This 3-day on-site course costs $725 and comes with a money-back guarantee. Coach U offers a 4 week teleclass, Becoming a Coach, to help prospective students discover if coaching is right for them ($69).

The financial investment to become a certified coach through one of the ICF accredited programs ranges from $5,600 to $11,000. To complete all the requirements takes approximately 9 months to 1 year. If you have some flexibility in your schedule, you could complete this training while continuing in your current position. Many of the programs require some of the training to be “on-site,” however there are those that offer a distance learning option.

Accredited programs require 125 hours of training in the core curriculum, observed coaching sessions, ethics, and a final examination.

One of the best parts of my training was the requirement to have 5 actual clients when going through the certification portion. Some of the client calls were recorded (with permission of course!) and then evaluated by the supervisors. This type of feed-back was invaluable in the learning process. Another great benefit of the training was all of the coaching from fellow classmates. Inevitably, positive changes start occurring as a natural result from the intensive coaching.

In September, I will be speaking about Professional Coaching at a national conference. If you have questions about becoming a coach, please feel free to contact me.

Disclaimer: I do not have a financial affiliation with CTI or any other coaching programs.

About the author:

Heather Fork, MD, CPCC, is owner and founder of the Doctor’s Crossing. As an ICF certified coach, she works with physicians who are seeking to renew and reinvigorate their careers and avoid burnout. She helps doctors tap into their natural abilities and passion to create new and inspiring opportunities within clinical medicine or through non-clinical options. Knowing that too many physicians are suffering from stress and burnout, Dr. Fork is dedicated to improving physician well-being collectively, as well as individually.  

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