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Creating a Culture of Courage and Collegiality in Academia: A “Coach Approach”

March 25, 2024

Arguing for a paradigm shift in what professionalism and career success look like in academic medicine, Yale Child Study Center (YCSC) Assistant Professor Daryn H. David, PhD, called for making a “coach approach” accessible to faculty in a recent article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

The Viewpoint piece, titled, “A Renaissance in Academic Medicine — Using a Coach Approach to Develop Early Career Faculty” explores the difference between training for competence and training for creativity, reflecting on how a dearth of the latter exists in academic medicine. The result is an apprentice-like system in which people are trained to execute their craft — whether clinical, research, or administration — but are not adequately guided on how to build a successful, multidimensional career.

The author, who also serves as associate director for leadership development in the Yale School of Medicine (YSM) offices of Academic and Professional Development and of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion, goes on to define the art of the coach approach and explores how this could help rectify the above-cited problem by unlocking the psychological, interpersonal, and humanistic assets of individuals working in academic medicine.

“Integrating a coaching framework at the very beginning of one’s medical training can catalyze tomorrow’s workforce. To meet current challenges within academic medicine, we must also harness a cross-sectional approach, infusing the coaching approach into leadership development initiatives for today’s early-career and more established leaders,” the article states.

A brief overview of the coaching programs that currently exist in academic medicine is also provided, with an important note that these have mainly served medical students. Highlighting some of the innovative approaches taken at YSM, the article showcases how the school’s institutional values resonate with an expansion of coaching programming for faculty.

“There is a disconnect between the types of technical training that MDs and PhDs receive and the humanistic demands of their job in the 21st century,” the author commented. “Cutting-edge coaching work is underway with trainees and faculty at YSM. As we begin to more formally study outcomes from these programs, I hope we will find that coaching helps to grow a culture of creativity, courage, and collegiality in academic medicine, one coach-ee at a time. Please stay tuned!”

Submitted by Crista Marchesseault on March 22, 2024