Excellence in Clinical Coaching Award: Humble Thanks

Today I want to thank everyone in my department for nominating me for the Excellence in Clinical Coaching Award . I accepted it during the Graduate Medical Education Leadership Symposium this afternoon.

For some reason, I almost wrote “Excellence in Clinical Clowning Award ” above. I guess maybe one of the reasons is that I was given an award (tongue in cheek) by the residents a few years ago when I made a pretty funny mistake giving a Grand Rounds presentation.

Much to my embarrassment, I somehow mixed up my slides so badly that many of them were out of order. I had to ad lib around that–a lot. Little wonder the residents whipped up the Improviser of the Year Award for outstanding improvisation during a Grand Rounds.

Improviser of the Year Award

Another honor I received about 8 years ago was a Feather in My Cap award after making the rank of Clinical Professor. The awardees had to come up with a favorite quote which guided them, and which was printed on the certificate. At the time, my favorite quote was:

“Vitality shows in not only the ability to persist but the ability to start over.”

F. Scott Gitzgerald
Another feather in my cap

I think I chose that because I have sort of reinvented myself over the years, including going to medical school later in adulthood, trying private practice in psychiatry, and most recently transitioning to retirement.

I’m also very fond of the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award about twelve years ago.

These days, other quotes are more important to me, like the one by Stephen Covey,

“Leadership is a choice, not a position.”

Stephen Covey

The comments praising today’s honorees, written in the the program by trainees and department colleagues, were heart warming for everyone. They brought back memories for all of us, I’m sure.

I struck up a conversation with an attendee about comparing coaches and mentors. I mentioned that in a previous post, “Spring,” on May 4, 2019. Many people tend to conflate the two roles, although I still favor the view that coaches tend to have shorter relationships that are more focused on skill building while mentors have longer term relationship more focused on career building.

However, both mentors and coaches serve as role models, something all teachers do. I have a short coaching video below for a skill I have often role-modeled for trainees–sitting with patients and listening to them for understanding.

In honor of Excellence in Clinical Coaching–and Clowning.

I’m also a big fan of a sense of humor on the Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry service, as anyone knows who has worked with me. My work-related anecdotes get more colorful, less accurate, and longer the older I get. I know when to cut them short, though–the trainees snore loudly. My hearing is still pretty good. I briefly considered getting a coach’s whistle—but thought better of it.

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