Posted: April 3, 2020

Coaching the Coach: Interactive Faculty Development Scenarios Using Simulated Learners


Medical schools increasingly are implementing coaching programs to support students in their learning. Although the exact responsibilities of a medical school coach vary by program, the role typically involves new skills in coaching different from typical advising and mentoring skills and thus requires faculty development. Embracing the idea that skill building is best facilitated through experiential learning with opportunities for practice, reflection and feedback, we created a faculty development activity with simulated learners (actors) to help faculty coaches in our new School of Medicine curriculum acquire specific coaching skills. In this resource we include four scenarios transferable to coaching programs outside of our institution. The topics covered by these scenarios include 1) establishing the coaching relationship; 2) supporting students needing accommodations; 3) assisting with learning planning; and 4) navigating hidden curriculum issues. The resource also includes a guide for simulated learner recruitment and training, an overall lesson plan, and for each scenario instructions for observers and debriefing of the scenario.


Anita Richards, MACM, University of California, San Francisco
Anna Chang, MD, University of California, San Francisco
Calvin Chou, MD, PhD, University of California, San Francisco
Karen Hauer, MD, PhD, University of California, San Francisco
Catherine Lomen-Hoerth, MD, PhD, University of California, San Francisco

Learner Audience

Continuing Medical Education/Continuing Professional Development (CME/CPD)


Practice Based Learning and Improvement, Professionalism

Resource Type(s)

Clinical Case

Instructional Method(s)



Coaching, Standardized Patients, Faculty Development, Feedback, Simulation, Small group teaching, Simulated Learners