By Tom Lacock
Wyoming Medical Society
The journey through medical education and into practice is one that Betsy Spomer, MD of Powell suggests is very prescribed and linear. However, the route to job satisfaction and maintaining work-life balance is not. Spomer’s own experience as a physician experiencing burnout has led her in a new direction as a life coach for those in the medical field.
“Clients will come and they want some sort of change and sometimes they aren’t sure what it is,” Spomer said. “It is usually hidden beneath what they are telling me. Maybe they are thinking of leaving their job. Or maybe they will come to me and I can tell that they need better life balance.”
Spomer is quick to point out coaching isn’t counseling. She says counseling is based on pathology and a diagnosis with an eye on fixing an ailment. Meanwhile coaching is based on using one’s natural strengths and skills in an effort to tap into what makes the client tick and how to best bring joy back to their lives and work. The hope is to use that person’s values and strengths to lay out a plan for moving forward to make positive changes. This can include visionaries who are trying to figure out how to change careers or produce products, as well as those looking for changes in their professional life.
“Something is getting in the way of them accessing their personal wisdom or strength or even their values,” says Spomer. “I have the pleasure of helping them make those discoveries.
They leave with this well-designed plan that comes from the heart and we really get to what matters to them and what motivates them, what drives them to do good work. It is behind everything they have ever done, they just maybe never really knew it.”
The coaching process actually begins with a free sample session in which the client meets with Spomer for half an hour. The duo work to uncover a topic to discuss.
If the client decides to enlist Spomer’s services, the next session generally runs two hours and is a deep dive into the client’s life and some work to discover goals for their work together.
“At that point I want to figure out who they are, who their family members are, who their pets are,” Spomer jokes. “I really get their history and then we uncover some of their core values and what makes them tick. Then we have something to go on.”
From there four or five big topics are designed and Spomer finds out what the client is interested in talking about and ways they can move the client forward in a positive way. The coaching then goes on for two hours per month and can be broken up based on the convenience of the client. Spomer says she asks for a three-month commitment and after that the coaching can be continued on a month-to-month basis.
The goal of the coaching is to help make changes in life or career when things aren’t sitting quite right with the practice of medicine. Spomer said the best thing about coaching is that her services equate to having a personal advocate.
“It is fun,” Spomer said of the coaching. “It is a relationship and there is no other place where you have a champion. I am their biggest fan. I want to know everything about them. I am completely curious and I support them. I challenge them and there just aren’t that many opportunities in this life for that type of experience.”