Characteristics of Volunteer Coaches in a Clinical Process Improvement Program

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The Partners Clinical Process Improvement Leadership Program provides quality improvement training for clinicians and administrators, utilizing graduates as volunteer peer coaches for mentorship. We sought to understand the factors associated with volunteer coach participation and gain insight into how to improve and sustain this program.


Review of coach characteristics from course database and survey of frequent coaches.


Out of 516 Partners Clinical Process Improvement Leadership Program graduates from March 2010 to June 2015, 117 (23%) individuals volunteered as coaches. Sixty-one (52%) individuals coached once, 31 (27%) coached twice, and 25 (21%) coached 3 or more times. There were statistically significant associations between coaching and occupation (P = .005), Partners Clinical Process Improvement Leadership Program course taken (P = .001), and course location (P = .007). Administrators were more likely to coach than physicians (odds ratio: 1.75, P = .04). Reasons for volunteering as a coach included further development of skills, desire to stay involved with program, and enjoying mentoring. Reasons for repeated coaching included maintaining quality improvement skills, expanding skills to a wider variety of projects, and networking.


A peer graduate volunteer coach model is a viable strategy for interprofessional quality improvement mentorship. Strategies that support repeat coaching and engage clinicians should be promoted to ensure an experienced and diversified group of coaches.

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