After a chaotic shift, you and your learner sit down to complete the daily evaluation card. There are no significant issues with the learner. Is there anything else to write except ‘great shift’ or ‘read more’?

Can we learn from excellent motivators such as sports coaches? This article by LeBlanc and Sherbino outlines coaching as a teaching technique in the ED.

How is coaching different from traditional teaching?

Coaching is dynamic – learner and teacher work towards a common, specific goal. The agenda is learner driven. Coaches observe learners to provide feedback. They also follow up on behavior changes.

How can we use it in the chaotic ED?

Target coaching relationship to appropriate learners. Use short, discreet episodes for basis of teaching.

What are the elements of successful coaching?

  1. Explore the learners’ agenda. Set goals together.
  2. Observe learners during short episodes.
  3. Identify the gap in behavior.
  4. Provide a learning plan. It should be specific to the learner’s needs, and not a formal assessment.
  5. Role model behavior and skills.
  6. Ensure follow up to assess learner’s progress.


This article has pratical use for teaching in the ED. I have found myself wondering what to tell the capable learners as feedback. Using the coaching technique we will both know our common goals.

Observation, even though time-consuming, brings a wealth of information. I sometimes listen behind the curtain as I chart or review lab results!
What are your thoughts on coaching?


LeBlanc C, Sherbino J. Coaching in emergency medicine, CJEM 2010;12(6):520-524.
Stella Yiu, MD

Stella Yiu, MD

ALiEM Blog Contributor
Assistant Professor, University of Ottawa Staff Physician, The Ottawa Hospital
Stella Yiu, MD


Emergency physician and clinician educator in Ottawa, Canada. Own opinions. Go #FOAMed!