Peer coaching as a technique to foster professional development in clinical ambulatory settings

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Introduction:Few studies have examined how peer coaching is an effective educational and development technique in contexts outside the classroom. This research focused on peer coaching as a platform to study the process of professional development for physicians. The purpose was to identify perceived benefits coaches received from a coaching encounter and how this relates to their own process of professional development.Methods:Critical incident interviews with 13 physician coaches were conducted and tape recorded. Themes were identified using a thematic analysis technique.Results:Themes emerged clustering around two distinct benefit orientations. Group 1. reflection and teaching coaches, tended to focus on others and discuss how positively they experienced the encounter. Group 2, personal learning and change coaches, expressed benefits along more personal lines.Discussion:Peer coaching contributes to physicians' professional development by encouraging reflection time and learning. Peer coaching affords positive impact to those who coach in addition to those who receive the coaching. The two clusters of benefits support the performance, learning, and development theory in that there are multiple modes to describe adult growth and development. Programs of this type should be considered in medical faculty development activities associated with medical education.

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