Do You Have What it Takes to Coach Physicians?

Introducing the Certified Physician Development Coach™ Advanced Coach Training Program  —  Build or Expand Your Practice to Serve Doctors



From: Francine R. Gaillour, MD, MBA, FACPE, PCC
Founder and Executive Director, Physician Coaching Institute™


Dear Coaching Colleague,

For over twenty years I have enjoyed a gratifying, thriving coaching practice, working with physicians. Physicians are my niche. I know them inside and out.

Not only am I former (and current) practicing physician myself, but I know every physician type and “archetype” out there.  I’ve worked with the kindest of docs, and also the most arrogant.  I’ve seen many physicians rise to the challenge of leading healthcare changes, and many buckle under the strain of an increasingly complex system.

For the past twenty years I’ve had the pleasure and privilege of  consulting and advising hundreds of the most progressive, innovative, energetic, frustrating, and “daring doctors” in the medical profession.

What I love about my work is that my physician clients have not only transformed themselves but they are also transforming their communities and their organizations. My coaching practice has been not only immensely gratifying for me as a coach, but just as importantly, it has been highly rewarding for me as a physician entrepreneur and trailblazer.

Wanted: Highly Motivated Coaches to Specialize in Physician Coaching

But I realize I can’t coach all the physicians who could truly benefit from coaching. My coaching practice is full the brim and I am limiting the number of one-on-clients I will take. This is one of the reasons I developed  the  Physician Coaching Institute over fifteen years ago.

The medical profession needs more coaches who understand the underlying drivers of physician stress, burnout and dissatisfaction, who understand the professional aspirations and challenges of doctors, who understand the interpersonal dynamics of physicians and their colleagues, and who can competently coach physicians to get them back on a professional pathway of achievement, balance and joy.

At this point in my coaching career, I am directing my  attention to develop  highly motivated coaches who want to take on the challenge, and also reap the personal rewards, of coaching an amazingly intelligent, eager, and grateful group of professionals. Twice a year, I lead a small cohort of select coaches through advanced training in our completely revamped 6-month coach certification program and earn the Certified Physician Development Coach™ credential. Our first cohort completed their training in 2003, and currently we have over 100 graduates.

This is an opportunity to be a super-specialist coach — whether as an entrepreneur coach or an internal organizational coach — and to “heal to the healers.”

Are you cut out to be a Certified Physician Development Coach™?

Before you answer that, let me share with you what is happening in medicine today and why a growing crisis means an opportunity and need for specialized physician coaches.

ICF Accredited We are Accredited by the ICF

There is No Industry More Ready for Coaching than Healthcare…no Professional More Deserving of Coaching than Doctors

My physician clients are trying to survive and thrive in a healthcare system that is on the verge of breakdown. Did you know that the medical profession ranks #2 in the top 10 most stressful careers?  Physicians are bearing the brunt of the seismic changes in healthcare.

Here are just a few of the drivers causing enormous change—and stress—for physicians:

bul_03An aging population means physicians are spending more time with sicker patients, but reimbursements are actually declining

bul_03Physicians are expected to meet new “productivity and performance” targets, but this means more patients per day and less personalized time with each patient

bul_03Health plans are imposing patient quality “report cards” on physicians or else be dropped by the plan, but many physicians are not prepared to meet standards

bul_03Sophisticated and demanding baby boomers expect immediate access to specialists and treatments, but physicians question the need for costly and unnecessary care

bul_03The tech-savvy “millennium generation” are finding a mountain of healthcare information on the Internet, but physicians are expected to sort out the truth from the quackery for them—and oh yea, can you please fit in virtual visits?

bul_03Stratospheric rise in malpractice insurance is forcing many subspecialty physicians to leave the profession, and doctors are almost politically powerless to intervene

bul_03Insurers, health systems and patients are guiding physicians to use electronic medical records, but many  physicians are doubting with the value of technology and now impersonal interactions they have in the exam room (not to mention the average of 1.7 hours added to their day for electronic charting)

bul_03Hospitals and health plans increasingly expect physicians to follow clinical protocols, but physicians are distrustful of “cook book” medicine, and also chafe at having to emote “warmth and sincerity” when in truth they are feeling disillusioned and exhausted”


To add insult to injury, some  physicians’  hostile reactions to these changes are compounding the stress because they are lashing out at their clinical colleagues and staff. You’ve heard about the  nursing shortage? In my view, nurses would be a lot happier if physicians would get coaching!

Physicians are under a new kind of stress they never anticipated when they first went to medical school:

Losing sleep because you’re stumped by a complex patient case is one thing.
But losing sleep because you don’t enjoy your work anymore or because you feel ineffectual—
—-well that’s a whole a lot scarier for  every smart physician who has spent a lifetime developing mastery.

Simply put, many physicians are experiencing a breakdown in their career, in their working relationships and in their ethical and spiritual boundaries. Moreover, physician leaders who are trying to clean up the mess have their hands full too!

The good news? There is no industry more ripe for coaching than healthcare….and thank goodness health systems are recognizing the value of coaching for their physicians!

Are You Competent to Coach These 5 Physician Profiles?

But if you want to succeed coaching physicians, you MUST be advanced trained in coaching physicians. You might think that’s an arrogant statement, but I’m saying it for a good reason:  As a physician, I care deeply about the medical profession and I want physicians to succeed.

Here’s the scoop: We are a complex bunch. Generalized personal coaching or career coaching isn’t enough.

In my client base, there are at least five distinct physician profiles that routinely come to me for coaching help:

063 1. Physicians who feel their creativity and ingenuity is constrained by medicine and want to expand or transition their career

063 2. Physicians who truly love medicine but are struggling to regain their well-being and enjoy their practice in the midst of tumultuous change and burn-out

063 3. Physicians who are in a leadership position and are developing new people and business management skills for first time, and have no idea whether they are being effective

063 4. Physicians who want to develop additional streams of income with health products or new service models and are being “entrepreneurs” for the first time

063 5. Physicians who have been given feedback that their behavior is difficult or “rough” and are coming to grips with the need to shape up or, well, you know what

Now guess what: The majority of my clients present with elements of  every single one of those five profiles!

Why Doctors Need a Certified Physician Development Coach™, Not Just a Coach

As a physician coach who practiced medicine for many years and who has also coached and consulted with hundreds of physicians, I recognize how physicians fray at the edges. What a doctor states is their “problem” and what they think is the “solution” ain’t necessarily the real story, nor the whole story.

I’m going to give you one example of a client who I think might be one my most straightforward cases. Here is the story of Dr. H:

The case of Dr. H

Dr. H came to me expressing a desire to leave medicine and wanted my help finding a new non-clinical career.  The reason he gave for wanting to leave medicine was “I’m tired of the grind.”

What was the real reason underlying his fatigue: No vacation in almost a year, and on call every weekend.

Why: He had burned his bridges over several years with several colleagues who could have shared call with him and supported him building a practice.

Why: He perceived an event that occurred many years ago as being hostile to him and his practice. He carried a grudge for 15 years with another physician.

What we focused on: Developing a broader repertoire of interpersonal communication; repairing relationships with specialty physicians; building collegial relationships with perceived enemies; improving how he delegates to office staff; exploring additional skills and strengths.

Result: Dr. H is thriving in his clinical practice, enjoying his family time, and developing a speaking business on the side.

The case of Dr. H is an example the most straightforward of my clients. This might give you an idea of how even the most seemingly uncomplicated of physicians really  benefits from specialized coaching. Coaching that assesses the  multiple dimensions of physician career fulfillment and keeps these bright individuals fully engaged and serving their community.
Are you ready to become one these specialized physician coaches?

7 Reasons Why Physicians are Dream Clients:

Since launching my consulting and coaching practice eighteen years ago I have worked with  well over 500 physicians: in one-on-settings, in group coaching, in workshops, and seminars.

The truly exciting news in is that in my experience as a physician and a professional coach, physicians make ideal coaching clients. Here are 7 reasons why:

bul_03Physicians as a group are highly intelligent

bul_03They are naturally “life long learners” who pride themselves on learning new skills

bul_03Most physicians have never had been trained in basic “people skills ” and they are hungry for and appreciate every tip, secret, and technique a coach can offer

bul_03The vast majority of docs were “called” to medicine as healers and they have a natural inclination toward the intuitive and metaphorical

bul_03Physicians are extremely motivated and once they set a goal, they will work hard to achieve it

bul_03Doctors are among the highest paid professionals and if they see professional value, they will invest in themselves

bul_03Physicians are more than willing to establish a long professional relationship as long as they continue to grow

Why Be Advanced Trained as a Certified Physician Development Coach™?

As I mentioned, my belief is that physicians benefit most from coaches who can address the multiple demands of a busy physician, their deeply held fears, their aspirations, their unique strengths, their weaknesses, AND their non-clinical life and career possibilities.

In a sense this is a combination life-leadership-career-executive-resilience coach rolled into one. Maybe you are all of those.

But here is my assessment: You could go through multiple training programs in life coaching, executive coaching, emotional intelligence coaching, and career coaching, and STILL miss the boat when it comes to truly being of service to doctors AND developing a thriving physician coaching practice.

Here’s another big scoop: Physicians value and respect: education, training, credentials, structure, method and other professionals.

Does this mean you can’t do a good job coaching a physician if a you’re a generalized life or career coach?

No, not at all. But you’d probably be missing an opportunity to coach on additional dimensions that are important to your physician client, that would have even more dramatic impact on their life, and that would in turn deepen your expertise.

My goal in establishing the Physician Coaching Institute’s Certification Program is to  take you from your current  coach training and coaching practice (whether as a life, career or executive coach) to the point where you have expert insights as a Certified Physician Development Coach, enjoying a satisfying practice over the span of your coaching journey. You will serve your clients best  when you have your business foundation solidly in place.

You will get there by adding three essential resources which the program will provide you:

#1 Advanced Physician Coaching Concepts, Structures and Tools

These concepts, structures and tools that will enable you to competently and confidently assess a physician’s multidimensional needs, aspirations, obstacles and possibilities and guide them to outcomes they could envision only in their big dreams.  Buddy Coaching assignments and the PCI Proficiency Portfolio enable you to practice using these new tools and integrate concepts into your own coach’s toolkit.

Learn the Physician  Coaching Program approach that not only co-creates trust with your physician client and offers physician-focused coaching structures and tools, but also provides a satisfying practice for you as a coach.

#2 Practice Development Strategies Unique to Healthcare

Fully developed Physician Coaching Programs make it easy for physicians to say “I get it.”

Next are the program and practice development strategies that educate the healthcare community, and move physician clients from “I’m intrigued” to “Let’s get started.” Optional ongoing business development roundtable sessions keep your strategies  fresh and your passion stoked.  Physicians don’t like sleezy approaches and you will have no use for cheap marketing techniques either. Learn how to create awareness in the market  with integrity and professionalism.

#3 Staying Power Continuous Learning

Differentiating yourself starts with Advanced Concepts and specific Physician Coaching Programs. The Physician Coaching Institute was founded and its charter members include the most recognized physician coach “trailblazers”  in the industry today. Your training is based on hundreds of hours of coaches actually coaching physicians — not just theory.   Beyond the Certified Physician Development Coach credential, you’ll be invited to participate in PCI Collaboration network by the Graduate-run PCI Collaboration Community.

Bottom line: Physicians RESPECT credentials and case learning, and you will earn the Certified Physician Development Coach™ designation which demonstrates not only your commitment to physicians, but your willingness to attain the next level  of education.

What are some of the Benefits of becoming a Certified Physician Development Coach™?

There is no need to reinvent the wheel if you’ve thinking about becoming a coach for physicians or expanding your practice to include physicians— the programs, materials, structure has been done, delivered, and refined by the Physician Coaching Institute dozens of times

bul_17You will learn about  healthcare coaching  from a physician and a physician who is not only a coach but also a former healthcare business executive who has a unique perspective on delivering coaching programs inside the health system

bul_17Even if healthcare is currently your broad niche, there’s no getting around the fact you won’t be truly successful unless you thoroughly understand the “doctor dynamic”

bul_17Coaching physicians is immensely gratifying, and because not everyone is cut out for it, you’ll be among the rare few, listed in the Physician Coaching Institute Directory

bul_17Your coaching skills are elevated through the integration of “master level” skills taught by our invited PCI Coaching Scholar (in addition to Dr. Gaillour, an ICF Master Coach  facilitates the coaching core competencies)

bul_17You will have an opportunity to “mastermind” among fellow Physician Development Coaches with diverse and intriguing backgrounds who can challenge and support you

bul_17As you go through the training, as an “internal coach” within your organization, you can begin immediately to have an impact on physician well-being, performance and collegiality — for the organization, the result is physician retention

bul_17As a Certified Physician Development Coach™, you will be able to differentiate your coaching practice and it’s a good bet you’ll be one of the few  specialized coaches working with physicians in your geographic region

What is Included in the Physician Coaching Institute™ Advanced Certification Training Program ?

bul_17An in-person 2-day Kick-off followed by 6 months of live webinar learning, concluding with a 1.5-day in-person Capstone

bul_1710  Modules on Advanced Coaching Concepts – Specialized Coaching Tools to Add to Your Coach’s Toolkit, including:

4 Modules on Coaching Physician Personal Fulfillment and Satisfaction

3 Modules on Coaching the Physician Leader

3 Modules on Coaching Physician Career Resilience

bul_172 Modules on Healthcare Coaching Program Development

bul_173 Modules on Marketing and Practice Building Strategies

bul_171 Modules  on Technology and Internet-based Marketing and Coaching Program Delivery

bul_17Audio recording mp3 of every training webinar for playback later

bul_17Guided PCI Proficiency Portfolio to include relevant “buddy coaching” assignments and enrichment projects

bul_17Student-only web portal with digital handouts, recommended reading and resources, plus audio recorded playbacks of all sessions

bul_173 Private Mentor Coaching Sessions with Dr. Francine Gaillour, Executive Director, in the first year during and following the Program

Once you complete the Training and the required PCI Proficiency Portfolio you will earn:

bul_17The Certified Physician Development Coach™  designation

bul_17The benefits of ongoing professional  development through PCI Coaching Mastery workshops

bul_17Inclusion of your Coach Profile on the Physician Coaching Institute directory

bul_17Access to the Physician Coaching Institute community for ongoing mastermind groups and collaboration

bul_17Eligibility to expand your learning on physician coaching best practices with a cohort of Physician Development Coaches in the Collaboration Webinars  personally facilitated by our PCI Advisory Board

What are the Requirements for Enrolling in the Advanced Certification Program?

In case you’re wondering whether you will qualify for the Physician Coaching Institute’ Advanced Certification Program, please go through this quick check list and make sure you can answer “Yes” to every item:

Enrollment Guidelines:

____ I have completed or will be completing at a minimum a “Foundations” level coach training (16 hours) through an International Coach Federation (ICF) recognized training program, or have equivalent coaching or organizational development training
____ I am committed to the time, energy and financial investment necessary to engage in the  professional development process
____ I have an affinity for healthcare and physicians
____ I can commit to an intense 6-month training program
____ I value integrity, honesty, professionalism, and collegiality

Are you considering becoming a healthcare executive or life coach, but haven’t yet completed a basic coaching skills-development program?  Or are you in the early phases of coach training?  Are you internal to your health system and interested in training a cadre of coaches?

Go ahead and complete the Inquiry form below and share your situation and experiences.  We can recommend a coach development plan that may allow you to start BOTH a foundation skills-building coach training AND then enter the Advanced Certification Program within a short time.  For health systems, we offer a “health system” track so you can train six or more coaches.

The Physician Coaching Institute’s Advanced Certification Program leading to the Certified Physician Development Coach™ recognition accepts a limited number of eligible coaches for each cohort group.  Training programs are conducted twice a year, with a cohort starting approximately March and September.  In general we always FILL UP our training groups, so please let us know of your interest as soon as possible, so we can work with you well in advance of when you might start with the next group.

The Physician Coaching Institute hosts a FREE  Informational  Webinars several times a year.  This is your opportunity to explore whether becoming a  Certified Physician Development Coach™ is a good fit with your professional development goals.  Please complete the Inquiry Form below to to register for an Informational Webinar.

Click Here to review the  Certified Physician Development Coach training Program Overview, Curriculum and Tuition



Francine Gaillour, MD
Founder and Executive Director
(206) 686-4205