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Coaching and health
  1. John Launer
  1. Correspondence to Dr John Launer, Faculty Development, Health Education England, Stewart House, 32 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DN, UK; john.launer{at}

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In recent years, an increasing number of doctors have sought coaching or mentoring as part of their career development. Hospitals and other health organisations in the United Kingdom, the United States and elsewhere have set up schemes to provide these services to doctors, especially those who are starting in new jobs, or at points of transition in their working lives. In contrast to coaching in sports or academic subjects, coaching for doctors is not aimed at training in specific skills or giving advice. Instead, its purpose is to provide a time and space for reflecting on the challenges of medical work, including stress, time management, or the responsibilities of running a team.1 Ideally, coaches or mentors will have been trained to carry out the role, using techniques to facilitate reflection and decision-making, including non-directive questioning. (Although coaching and mentoring are sometimes defined in slightly different ways, in a medical context it makes sense to regard them as essentially the same). When these services are set up well and use properly trained coaches, there is evidence that they can have a significant effect on job satisfaction and professional effectiveness.2

As doctors have become more familiar …

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