Thursday, September 29, 2011


Professional athletes use coaches to make sure they are as good as they can be. 

But doctors don’t. I’d paid to have a kid just out of college look at my serve. So why did I find it inconceivable to pay someone to come into my operating room and coach me on my surgical technique?...

Self-improvement has always found a ready market, and most of what’s on offer is simply one-on-one instruction to get amateurs through the essentials. It’s teaching with a trendier name. Coaching aimed at improving the performance of people who are already professionals is less usual. It’s also riskier: bad coaching can make people worse. -Atul Gwande, from this article in the New Yorker

As a practicing surgeon, Dr. Gwande has given many novel insights into the health care industry, effectively diagnosing big picture problems and suggesting practical, effective solutions. For this article, though, he speaks to professionals in all industries. His thesis simply states that if you want to get better at what you do, you need a coach.  This may come as a shock to those professionals in industries where coaching is traditionally not used (Gwande uses teachers and surgeons as examples), but is also a good reminder for professionals in traditionally "coached" industries (ie sports) who think they can be "self-coached". Simply put, if you are "self-coached" you're accepting the status quo and leaving potential improvements on the table.    

Article here.

No comments: