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Coaching for success

November 23, 2023

MCC 360 is a national multi-source feedback program designed for physicians practising in Canada to develop skills in their roles as communicators, collaborators, and professionals. The program focuses on the physician, helping them better understand their practice, including their strengths and areas for improvement by collecting feedback from colleagues, co-workers, and patients.

Now in its fifth year and boasting over 4,000 physician participants to date, the individualized, one-on-one coaching sessions following the delivery of each physician’s MCC 360 Report have proved to be the most valuable piece of the program, according to participants themselves.


What is a coach’s role?

Dr. Tom Lloyd is a coach with MCC 360 and has spent his career in the medical legal world in both the United Kingdom (UK) and Canada with the Medical Protection Society, the Canadian Medical Protective Association, and Saegis. He is now self-employed as a consultant. Dr. Lloyd explains that MCC 360 coaches, who are also physicians, act as an independent sounding board, and help the physician participants to make sense of and draw conclusions from the data in their MCC 360 Report. The confidential discussion stays between the coach and the participant; the coach is not reporting back to anyone. The coach also isn’t meant to judge or provide advice.

“The coach is purely there for the person to succeed. Our role is to help put the report into context, to help pick up on what’s most important to each participant and what they feel they need to work on.”

Being the best physician you can be

Physicians spend most of their years, whether during their education or in practice, focusing on developing the technical skills involved in health care, which are easier to measure. Dr. Lloyd explains that the common challenges faced by physicians in their practice revolve around three areas: communication, collaboration, and professionalism. “How you relate to patients, how you relate to colleagues, and how you relate to co-workers – that is what can get you into difficulty. It matters from a patient safety perspective because if you are not working well as a team, mistakes happen.”

Given the nature of health care work, physicians rarely receive input or advice on how they can improve their practice, what they are doing well, or what needs to be changed. Without reflecting on their practice, physicians can develop poor habits that they may not recognize themselves. On the other hand, Dr. Lloyd explains, “it’s equally useful to discover what you’re actually doing well because, particularly in medicine, we don’t get tapped on the back or congratulated on anything positive.” MCC 360 and the time spent with a coach to reflect on results is “purely time that you are now taking to look at your practice in ways that you’ve probably never done before.”

What are the outcomes?

MCC 360 has been designed around the roles of communicator, collaborator, and professional. The resulting report is put into perspective during two one-hour coaching sessions. Every session that Dr. Lloyd has coached has been different because each participant is different, apart from one similarity: “everybody always looks at the negative numbers first.” The coach can be essential to reframing and maybe even challenging what the participant is seeing in the report in a respectful and supportive way.

The major objective of the first coaching session is to develop a realistic and achievable action plan with a SMART goal type approach. The second coaching session is based on the action plan from the first meeting. The plan is always tailored to each physician’s needs and relies on the context that the individual is working in or experiencing.

Dr. Lloyd mentions the concept of an internal narrative that most of us have, which tends to be unsupportive. The coaching approach tests that narrative to determine where the truth lies. As an unbiased party, the coach can help guide the physician to develop a positive and constructive narrative for self-development.

It is all about what you do with it

MCC 360 and its coaching component are an effective tool for confronting challenges faced by physicians in everyday practice, outside of their medical expert knowledge. The MCC 360 Report is a set of numbers that require interpretation; success or change is the result of actions taken from the discussions that follow. Dr. Lloyd is never surprised by what comes up in the coaching session, but participants are frequently surprised that they are doing a really good job and don’t realize it. “Sometimes we forget that there are a lot of people around us who are invested in our success.”