Teaching GP trainees to use health coaching in consultations with patients: evaluation of a pilot study

Educ Prim Care. 2013 Sep;24(6):418-26. doi: 10.1080/14739879.2013.11494212.


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to describe the results of an evaluation of teaching health coaching to GP trainees for use in consultations with patients.

Design: Fourteen GP trainees were invited to attend a coaching skills training course. Each trainee was asked to apply coaching skills to up to four patients with long-term conditions. The evaluation used observation, surveys, review of trainee portfolios, and interviews with GP trainees, patients, and other stakeholders.

Findings: This evaluation found that it is feasible and useful to train GPs in health coaching. It had positive benefits for GP trainees, their patients, and the wider system. Lessons were also learned about the timing of the training, the style and content, the challenges of practising coaching skills within clinical practice, and selecting the most appropriate patients for coaching.

Limitations: This is a small pilot with a keen group of GP trainees. Further research is needed to determine if such an approach provides meaningful changes to patient outcomes and whether such approaches are cost-effective.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence
  • Communication*
  • General Practice / education*
  • Goals
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Self Efficacy
  • Teaching / methods*