Case Study: The Physician’s Dilemma

Pushing individuals to behave in ways that are not inherently driven by their personalities can lead to unsatisfying and unrewarding careers. Such is the case with Jim, a physician, whose rapidly expanding medical practice required him to increase the amount of time spent managing business issues. Since his time spent on business matters was taking him away from patient appointments, revenue was decreasing. This prompted him to engage a coach to help him improve his medical practice management techniques.

Through various assessments, Jim learned that:

  • He had a thirst for knowledge and learning associated with the academic research he used to enhance his patient outcomes. However, his time for this research was now severely limited.
  • He didn’t trust easily. His skeptical nature was an attribute that contributed greatly when diagnosing patients and recommending treatments. However, this same skepticism made it difficult for him to delegate important business matters to someone else.
  • His emotional intelligence was below average, particularly in the areas of self-awareness and interpersonal relationships.

Jim realized that his personality fit perfectly with his role as a physician and leveraged these traits as an asset. Yet, these traits were liabilities as a manager. Spending time on business management tasks was not just financially draining but personally draining as well. Jim worked with his coach to build a practice model that maximized his patient care and research time. He learned to manage his liabilities by carefully hiring a practice administrator, holding group coaching sessions (coach, physician, and practice administrator) to establish open communication, sharing expectations, and building systems of accountability such that a strong, trusting relationship was achieved. In addition, Jim’s medical practice increased its revenues while his administrative burden eased.

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