A PCI Grad’s Coaching Journey to Become a Certified Physician Coach

in Physician Coaching Insights

Six months ago I embarked on a journey to become a certified physician coach. I felt inadequate, but also excited about the opportunity to learn to better serve my colleagues through coaching. My personal goal was to feel more comfortable and empowered in the coaching role, but I received so much from the experience that I hope to share with others.

I enrolled in the Physician Coaching Institute, with Francine Gaillour, MD, and joined an amazing group of healthcare professionals including physicians, administrators and psychologists, all with the goal of improving our personal coaching presence in order to serve physicians and improve their experience of life. I believe the benefit of coaching is that it helps us discover strategies to move from surviving to thriving in our lives at work and at home.

During this process, I practiced coaching and being coached by my fellow students. I learned so much from them about empathic listening, deep questioning and challenging the self-limiting beliefs that hold us back in life. They also challenged me to pull wisdom from my client, and contribute my own intuition and experience without pushing an agenda. This openness and deep curiosity allows my client to be heard, which is a gift not often shared in this world.

I’ve learned more about my own personality style and how I communicate with people who have different ways of looking at the world. This has been a powerful tool for interactions with family and friends as well as colleagues and patients. Having someone to practice communication skills with has given me more confidence to put those new skills into practice in the hospital and at home.

Over the months, I’ve been challenged to really think about my values, the drivers in my life that help me stay true to me. There have definitely been times in my life when I’ve lost direction and felt alone. Those times of fog come and go for all of us. I equate those times to surviving, just getting through, day by day. Coaching has helped me see the power of holding my values up as a light so that I can keep moving with my goal in mind, more easily shed the fog, when it comes, and thrive. I’ve considered my current situation and really thought about what I want to do next. Do I want to dig deep where I am? Try something new? Knowing that there are options is empowering for me. Working with many different coaches, I see that each one has a unique way of serving others. It is helpful to have a coach that fits you well, that listens and challenges and pulls the best from you. I also want to acknowledge the volunteers that helped me practice coaching skills. I’ve learned from my experiences with each of them and appreciate their willingness to travel with me along stretches of this adventure.

My own coaching journey is just beginning. I have grown, gained confidence and experience and see the benefit of coaching personally. If you’re interested in working with me to travel your own coaching journey, please contact me.

— Dr. Makrina Shanbour, Certified Physician Development Coach for Confluence Health in Wenatchee, WA