Physician Coaching Curriculum

Individual Physician Coaching is an effective was to assess and enhance physician communication skills as evidenced in early work at Kaiser-Permanente.  Following implementation of the RELATIONS® for Healthcare Transformation (RHT) program, a healthcare organization can expect to witnes continued improvement patient experience metrics extending down to the individual physician level.  Approximately 20% of the physician staff will not keep pace with the organizational improvement and additional interventions to nurture the communication skills of these individuals will be necessary. In addition, individual physicians who are creating an excellent experience for their patients and colleagues may reach out to further advance their skills. To address these opportunities, the Institute for Healthcare Excellence has developed an individual physician coaching program entitled “An Appreciative Model to Enhance Communication Skills”.  The design of the program includes:


  • One-on-one peer coaching to enhance interactions with patients and staff
  • Personal observation of physician/patient/staff encounters followed by a debrief with feedback/coaching
  • Reassessment including observation and additional feedback/coaching approximately 30 days after the initial coaching session


The target audience for the individual physician coaching program include physicians who are identified by their Chairs and/or Leadership as having an opportunity to enhance their delivery of care and individual physicians who request to strengthen communication skills.  The coaches for the program are often chosen from the internal faculty leading the RELATIONS® for Healthcare Transformation program, as the program preparing individuals to become coaches builds on the relationship-centered facilitation skills learned in the RHT program.  Coaches are chosen from multiple specialties to represent the diversity of the staff; this allows for individual peer to peer coaching to occur from coaches with a more in-depth knowledge of a specialty or alternatively from a more diverse perspective.


Following implementation of the individual physician coaching program, approximately 60% of participants will experience sustained improvement in their experience metrics.