Coaching skills for medical education in a VUCA world

Med Teach. 2020 Jul 11;1-2. doi: 10.1080/0142159X.2020.1788713. Online ahead of print.


The world is in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Healthcare professionals and students globally are experiencing an increasingly 'VUCA' (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) healthcare and educational climate. Our future medical workforce needs skillsets to manage the personal and emotional challenges of work, uncertainty and change. These include organization, time management, proactive and consistent clinical skill development, effective communication, person-centred approaches, self-reflection and self-care. This is critical for success during undergraduate medical education and ongoing clinical practice to build personal resilience, provide the best possible clinical care in a different healthcare ecosystem, innovate for better healthcare systems and advocate for more vulnerable communities. Our faculty and students have been eager to learn and apply solution-oriented coaching skills to help to mitigate against burnout, hold more rewarding, person-centred conversations in clinical practice and enable them personally to respond flexibly and adapt constructively to change. Coaching training should comprise an essential component of the undergraduate medical curriculum and continuing professional development, supporting our medical workforce to derive joy from the practice of humanistic healthcare and develop the leadership skills to help shape a way forward through the challenges we are experiencing in an increasingly VUCA healthcare climate.

Keywords: Communication skills; ethics/attitudes; health promotion; medicine; undergraduate.