Background: The field of Hospital Medicine continues to expand and diversify in exciting ways, but it’s well known that we lag behind other fields in scholarly output and promotion (1,2). Our academic group has grown from 62 to 135 partners over the last 5 years, bringing in a plethora of new interests and areas of expertise. However, this increase in numbers combined with COVID-induced limitations on large group interactions and physically distant new office spaces have all drastically decreased the opportunities for brief, informal interactions between junior and senior faculty. To address this, we sought to harness the concept of coaching – short, goal oriented and time limited interactions – to intentionally coordinate encounters among our Division faculty as a way to improve engagement, retention, scholarship, and promotion.

Purpose: We developed a Coaching Consult program to leverage individual areas of expertise within our large academic hospitalist group with the goals of fostering intellectual collaborations and scholarly output, improving wellness, and increasing mentorship opportunities, particularly for new faculty onboarding under the stresses of the pandemic.

Description: The Coaching Consult program was piloted in May 2020 with five coaching categories: Preparing an Oral Presentation, Preparing a Poster, Teaching Improvement, Quality Improvement, and Medical Informatics. Prior to launch we identified 2-6 faculty with experience in each domain to serve as our core coaching team. We subsequently incorporated two existing programs within the Division – Onboarding Peer Mentorship and Peer Observations of Clinical Teaching – under the umbrella of the coaching program. In the second year, we expanded our offerings to include Patient Experience consults and three Wellness categories: Work-Life Balance, Dual Physician Families, and Engaging Wellness Resources. We also created a COVID-19 Research consult to help coordinate the many efforts among our faculty to contribute to the evolving knowledge of managing a novel pathogen. To ensure shared expectations for each coaching dyad, we published specific responsibilities for both coach and coachee. At the outset, both parties complete a “Pre-Survey” detailing the expected timeline and outcomes. We recommend but do not require that each coaching pair plans for 3-5 meetings during their engagement. A “Post-Survey” link is sent out 6 months after the initial request to gather feedback about the coaching experience and to track ongoing or completed scholarly activity resulting from the collaboration. In our first year and a half, we coordinated a total of 72 coaching consults. Figure 1 displays the breakdown of consults by category. In the Post-Survey, 100% of respondents said that the consult program has increased their job satisfaction or morale. All respondents also indicated that they are likely or very likely to request another consult in the future.

Conclusions: The Coaching Consult program provides a mechanism for both new and seasoned faculty to improve teaching and clinical skills, find resources to launch a new project or see an existing project to completion, or improve personal wellbeing. We successfully increased engagement of new faculty within the Division at a time when the pandemic might otherwise have isolated them. Our future plans include developing additional mechanisms to incentivize and track scholarly output as well as a tiered certificate program to recognize and reward faculty who take part in the Coaching Consult program.

IMAGE 1: Figure 1