University of Wisconsin
School of Medicine and Public Health

The COACH Program: Overview

What is the Coach Program?

The COACH program stands for:

Clarifying learning Outcomes and providing Actionable feedback with Coaching to Help learners succeed

It provides a method for faculty to guide a learner's development by focusing feedback on specific actions and behaviors, next steps for growth and clearly defined outcomes. This will help "coach" a learner through a permanent change in behavior.

Steps to Effective Feedback

COACH diagram

  1. Observe behaviors and divide into positive feedback and areas for growth
  2. Use the Four box model to provide this feedback:
    + Continue this Do more of this
    - Do this differently Do less of this

    Your “this” should be very specific:
    Focus on demonstrated actions and behaviors rather than on the person
    Focus on descriptions instead of judgment
  3. Provide next steps as specific directions and tasks for growth, instead of generalities
  4. Identify the specific outcomes you would like to see as a result of the tasks
  5. Tell the learner why this is important


The following overview video primarily discusses use of COACH Program methodology for medical students; however, the same strategies are appropriate for other learners, including postgraduate medical trainees.