Challenge & Support Program (English)

Challenge & Support is a bottom-up initiative by doctors, for doctors and offers development-oriented coaching, linked to scientific research. This form of coaching enhances personal and professional development, in line with lifelong learning.

In the daily routine of the medical professional it is difficult to find the time and space for personal reflection. Coaching improves personal and professional development appropriate for life-long learning. The ambition of The Challenge & Support Program is to provide high quality, easy accessible coaching to medical professionals (specialists, residents and other professions) at executive level. The program focuses on potential development with the aim to “Challenge when possible, and support if needed”.

The beginning

The Challenge & Support Program was initiated after the need for coaching was noticed among residents. In 2017 Anne P.J.  de Pagter, then a pediatric resident (Erasmus MC-Sophia and LUMC-WAKZ) proposed to make coaching available to herself and her colleagues because she is convinced coaching is a valuable addition to the personal and professional development of the medical professional.

In the pilot study among pediatric residents in the Netherlands in which both pediatric residents and pediatricians were given the opportunity to follow a coaching program with coaches that had been selected specifically for this job. In order to investigate the quality and effectiveness of the coaching, collaboration was found with the Department of Organizational Psychology of the University of Amsterdam (UvA). The success of the pilot, in which 57 pediatricians (in training) from both Erasmus MC and LUMC received coaching from a selected independent executive coach with experience with medical professionals, has led to an expansion of the program in 2019. Pediatrics, Neurology, Internal Medicine and Gynecology were the first residency programs to approve participation nationwide for all residents.

Coachees who participate in the program have 6 meetings with a Challenge & Support coach. They fill in a survey pre- and post- coaching program.

Success factors of Challenge & Support

  • Bottom up initiative, developed by a multidisciplinary team and accessible for staff as well as residents
  • Registration for the program is easy and online
  • Participation in the program is actively supported by department management and supervisors of the residents
  • External, independent, executive coaches with a broad knowledge of the medical sector
  • Voluntary participation
  • Self-chosen issues
  • Effect measurement and quality assurance through scientific research

This is a nationwide initiative in the Netherlands, for more information, please contact