In 2011, Dr. Atul Gawande published a piece in The New Yorker on the idea of utilizing a coach to improve upon his surgical technique. His 2017 TED talk above summarizes his evolving thoughts on the concept of coaching and how it might be leveraged in our culture of medicine.

To encourage those interested in seeking out colleagues and mentors for feedback, I’ve created a “Personal Learning Network” exercise that may help you in both identifying the goal and those individuals supportive of your development in that area.

Personal Learning Network.jpeg

Step I: First, define and articulate your goal. Design a goal that is measurable and challenging. Be willing to share and discuss this objective with others to elicit feedback and provide positive reinforcement. The FAST approach to goals is one tool to encourage self-organization in complex systems.

Step II: Identify the individuals that share similar values and will help you achieve your objectives by providing authentic, honest, and well-intentioned feedback. Ideally, this is someone who you will be receptive to and trust.

Step III: Design a plan of action to contact these individuals, share your goals, and schedule a time to connect.

Ankel & Sherbino. 2018. Adaptive Leadership for the New MedEd.
Atul Gawande. 2011. Personal Best: Top athletes and singers have coaches. Should you? The New Yorker.
Sull & Sull. 2017. With Goals, FAST Beats SMART. MIT Sloan Review.

Have any questions, ideas, or comments? Please feel free to email me at

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