Dynamics within peer-to-peer surgical coaching relationships: Early evidence from the Michigan Bariatric Surgical Collaborative

Surgery. 2018 Aug;164(2):185-188. doi: 10.1016/j.surg.2018.03.009. Epub 2018 Jun 20.


Background: Many coaching methods have been well studied and formalized, but the approach most commonly used in the continuing education of surgeons is peer coaching. Through a qualitative thematic analysis, we sought to determine if surgeons can comfortably and effectively transition to a co-learner dynamic for effective peer coaching.

Methods: This qualitative study evaluated 20 surgeons participating in a video review coaching exercise in October 2015. Each conversation was coded by 2 authors focusing on the dynamics of the coach and coachee relationship. Once coded, thematic analysis was performed.

Results: Two themes emerged in our analysis: (1) Participants often alternated between the roles of coach and coachee, even though they received assigned roles prior to the start of the session. For example, a coach would defer to the coachee, suggesting they felt unqualified to teach a particular technique or procedure. (2) The interactions demonstrated bidirectional exchange of ideas with both participants offering expertise when appropriate. For example, the coach and coachee frequently engaged in back-and-forth discussion about techniques, instrument selection, and intraoperative decision-making.

Conclusion: Our qualitative analysis demonstrates that surgeons naturally and effectively assume co-learner roles when participating in an early surgical coaching experience.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bariatric Surgery / education*
  • Bariatric Surgery / psychology
  • Formative Feedback
  • Humans
  • Mentoring / methods*
  • Peer Group
  • Role