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Physician coaching and speaking careers

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Doctors and medical professionals with excellent communication skills, a positive attitude, and the ability to move others to action may enjoy a career in coaching or public speaking. Many physicians consider themselves natural educators and encouragers, finding that coaching or giving educational presentations, either in small or large group format, comes naturally to them. Physician coaching often goes unexplored by those looking for a career change.

As a field, coaching is expected to grow as many physicians and other professionals in high stress positions contemplate career changes or are looking for assistance in maximizing their professional potential. Similarly, the health and wellness industry is growing, and private employers and insurance companies are seeing the benefit of employing health coaches to implement employee wellness programs.

Physicians who wish to remain in clinical medicine but enjoy public speaking, or have a particular subspecialty area or research focus, may be able to supplement their career with keynote speaking engagements.


Career or Business Coach

Keynote Speaker

Health Coach

Example Duties

▪ Speaking with clients via telephone or videoconferencing

▪ Assisting clients with CV preparation, job searching, or career re-directing

▪ Developing processes to assist clients


▪ Writing and preparing educational topics or speeches

▪ Attending conferences or other gatherings to deliver speeches

▪ Coordinating with companies to implement wellness programs

▪ Helping create concrete health plans for patients to implement in their daily lives.

Example Employers▪ Self-employed▪ Consultant or freelancer

▪ Self-employed

▪ Insurance company

Job Responsibilities

Job responsibilities in speaking and coaching can include delivering keynote speeches at conferences, corporate and individual health coaching, medical-related career coaching, and coaching in topics such as workplace stress, time management, or business development.

Various job responsibilities may include:

  • Writing and preparing educational topics or speeches
  • Speaking with clients via telephone or videoconferencing
  • Attending conferences or other gatherings to deliver speeches
  • Assisting clients with CV preparation, job searches, or career re-directing
  • Coordinating with companies to implement wellness programs
  • Helping to create concrete health plans for patients to implement in their daily lives
  • Working with other physicians to coach their patients relating to health and engaging in healthy behaviors
  • Overseeing health initiatives and wellness coaching programs at large insurance organizations
  • Coaching physicians in areas of stress management, leadership, and career growth
  • Advising physicians wishing to leave the field of medicine and pursue alternative careers

Work Environment and Schedule

There is the potential for coaches to be employed for organizations, such as large insurance companies or corporate employers. However, many coaches and public speakers are self-employed. Being self-employed allows for more schedule flexibility. It also requires an entrepreneurial mindset and work on the front end to build your business and reputation.

Potential for extensive travel exists for those who choose a career in keynote speaking or choose to travel to meet coaching clients in person. The schedule for those who choose public speaking or coaching exclusively could be erratic. There can be work engagements on weekends or evenings. Health coaches looking for a more typical and stable work schedule can find a position in a company working in employee health and wellness. Large insurance companies also hire medical directors to oversee health programs that they implement for their members.

Required Skills and Training

Necessary skills include:

  • Excellent communication and public speaking skills
  • Ability to read people, comfort, and provide practical advice
  • Usually some degree of experience in a particular area lends credibility, such as keynote speeches in specialty area
  • Although not always required, possessing a coaching certification (preferably licensed by the International Coaching Federation, or ICF) will lend some credibility to your experience

Residency, Licensure, and Training Requirements

Board certification and a medical license may be required for a medical director or health coach position at large insurance companies. For other positions, it may lend credibility but is not necessarily required.

Is This a Career for You?

Physicians who feel fulfilled by counseling and helping others realize their potential, accomplish a goal, or who enjoy sharing special knowledge on a topic are likely to enjoy a career in coaching or public speaking. If you have always been considered a good listener by your peers, or were in a field such as psychiatry, you may be particularly adept at connecting with others in a coaching capacity. Note, however, that coaches typically do not offer medical advice.

Reserved types, or those who do not like to self-promote, are likely to find speaking and coaching especially challenging. If you prefer to have a stable, predictable income, you may want to opt for another career choice. Although coaching and speaking can be highly desirable for many, it does require a significant amount of time and effort to build up clientele and reputation to ensure consistent booking. If a more stable position in coaching is preferred, taking a position with a larger company working in employee health and wellness may be a great option.

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