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Psychologically informed leadership coaching positively impacts the mental well-being of 80 senior doctors, medical and public health leaders
  1. Fiona Jane Day
  1. Fiona Day Consulting LTD, Leeds, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Fiona Jane Day, Fiona Day Consulting LTD, Leeds, LS7 3PD, UK; fiona{at}


Introduction Senior doctors, medical and public health leaders frequently experience poor levels of mental well-being. The aim was to investigate whether psychologically informed leadership coaching impacted on the mental well-being of 80 UK-based senior doctors, medical and public health leaders.

Methods A pre–post study was undertaken during 2018–2022 of 80 UK senior doctors, medical and public health leaders. Before and after measures of mental well-being were measured using the Short Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-Being Scale. The age range was 30–63 years (mean 44.5, mode and median, 45.0). Thirty-seven participants were male (46.3%). The proportion of non-white ethnicity was 21.3%.

Participants undertook an average of 8.7 hours of bespoke 1:1 psychologically informed leadership coaching.

Results The mean well-being score before the intervention was 21.4 (SD=3.28). The mean well-being score after the intervention increased to 24.5 (SD=3.38). A paired samples t-test found that the increase in metric well-being scores after the intervention was statistically significant (t=−9.52, p<0.001; Cohen’s d=3.14).The mean improvement was+17.4% (median 115.8%, mode 100, range −17.7% to+202.4%). This was observed particularly in two subdomains.

Conclusion Psychologically informed leadership coaching may be an effective way to improve mental well-being outcomes in senior doctors, medical and public heath leaders. The contribution of psychologically informed coaching is currently limited in medical leadership development research.

  • clinical leadership
  • medical leadership
  • coaching
  • mental health
  • public health

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  • Contributors FJD has solely: Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work; and rafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content; and final approval of the version to be published; and agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests see uploaded disclosure form.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Author note SWEMWBS is responsive to change at group level and individual level in a clinical sample of patients with depression and anxiety. Results using different standards suggest a difference of either 1 or 3 points as the threshold for statistically meaningful change at the individual level. Coaches who have a rigorous academic background in psychology may become Coaching Psychologists through the British Psychological Society, including Chartered Membership, a doctoral level award. Three other international coaching professional bodies have emerged with their own independent accreditation and governance processes.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.