The Physician Philosopher Podcast

TPP #6: Alpha Coaching with Dr. Dan Presutti

Women are more likely than men to use professional coaching. That’s true even in the doctor world. Is that because women physicians are smarter than us Neanderthals? Yeah, probably, but it’s also because there are not many physician coaches that are men. I want to introduce you to someone who is pursuing his life coach certification, and he’s going to coach with me in the alpha group coaching experience. I can’t wait to introduce you to him. 

Today’s thought is this, as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. And of course this is a proverb that means relationships and accountability can serve us as tools to help us become better people. And as humans, we need other people to help us become better. So, let’s get to it. Let’s introduce you to Dan. Let you hear his story, and why he thinks coaching is important, and why he decided to become a coach. Without further ado, Dr. Dan Presutti.

About Dr. Dan Presutti

Dr. Dan Presutti:

Great to be here and thanks for allowing me to be part of this. Thanks for inviting me on.

Jimmy:

Yeah, I’m excited to have you. We’re anesthesiologist in the same practice. But I want people to know about you, and to know your story, and your background. So, tell us a little bit about yourself.

Dr. Dan Presutti:

I grew up in New England. I’d always been somewhat aimless with my goals. But I knew that as high school was going, it was evolving that I wanted to join the military in some type of capacity. So, I got into West Point when I was in high school. That was probably like the first major goal that I had decided that I wanted to try for.

Medical school at Mercer down in Savannah, Georgia. Choosing anesthesia is certainly not a decision that I have ever regretted. In fact, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Jimmy:

Yeah, no, that’s good, man. Well, I know about your home life a little bit, but you are married to a nurse anesthetist. You’re an anesthesiologist, so that’s pretty awesome. You got some kids too?

Dr. Dan Presutti:

Home life like you said is busy. Me, my wife, there’s three kids close in age, nine, 10, and 12 right now. Tons of extracurriculars. Also, a couple of dogs thrown in the mix there. 

There is a lot going on. It almost seems like there’s not enough time in the day to get everything done and feel like you can take care of your family, your children, your personal issues.

Jimmy:

Yeah, it’s totally overwhelming, man. I’ve struggled with that a lot in my own life. And it was actually not until coaching that I figured out how to deal with that. 

So Why Life Coaching? 

Jimmy: 

You’re married, you got the kids, you’ve got the busy anesthesia practice. Why become a coach if you’ve got all this other busy stuff going on?

Dr. Dan Presutti:

You’re carrying all this weight. You may not realize the amount of responsibility that you’re carrying when you’re in the thick of it, and it’s not until you take a step back, and actually look at say what you’ve accomplished in the last 24 hours or the last week or month of your life that you can really gain some perspective on that. 

When I look back at the choices that I’ve made, and the directions that I’ve gone just within the institution that we work at, it seems like I’ve probably been doing some type of coaching or at least similar interactions with people over the last couple of years. A couple of institutional things such as peer supporters that I’ve been involved with. 

Coaching doesn’t have to be the guy with the whistle. It can be a casual conversation that you have with a colleague. It can be something more formal, but really it’s helped to create a more meaningful approach to issues or problems that might come up and really provide, I would say, a far more functional way of dealing with those issues, and understanding that it’s not just you as an individual going through it. That really there are so many people going through, and having so many of the same thoughts and feelings than just you as a person.

Jimmy:

Yeah. I think coaching or peer support, or whatever you want to call it really does a good job of normalizing the fact that you’re not the only one going through something. And that in and of itself, that revelation is immensely helpful for people because a lot of the time doctors in particular, I guess, and maybe other specialties or other professionals too. I’m just coming from a doctor’s perspective.

You just don’t really appreciate how much we kind of think that we do everything on our own. It’s our own volition and power that got us here. Asking for help seem super weak. It seems like something that we don’t want to do, but the second that you step out of your comfort zone, and have that conversation with somebody that’s not you, right? It allows you to have a perspective you’ve never had before. And to realize that you’re not the only one that’s struggling with anxiety or feeling overwhelmed or being burned out or stressed or what have you. 

Why Should Doctor’s Have Coaches?

Jimmy: 

So, why should a doctor get coaching? Is that really necessary? Is it helpful? 

Dr. Dan Presutti:

Do I think it’s helpful? Yeah, absolutely. I think that literally anyone can benefit from coaching. The reasons for that is because it just helps put things in perspective for you as an individual. I think coaching really helps you get over yourself and work through issues. It can help you take things that were previously incredibly frustrating things that you may have experienced in your own life. It could actually take things that were previously frustrations and actually turn them into it opportunities for learning or growth or an opportunity that will help you excel. Once you get over yourself and decide that, “Hey, this is not a you problem. This is a me problem.”

Jimmy:

In my experience in life the only person that I can control is me. And for a long time I used to take an outward look on other people. Whether it’s Kristin or my children, and have a certain expectation for them until some someday during coaching I realized that I work on me and I focus on me and my problems and the things that I want to address and the things where I can become a better person bit by bit by bit every day, the people around you can’t help but become better.

It’s actually psychology. There’s mirror neurons that help other people become more like you the more often you hang out with them. And you know that’s true because you start saying things like them and all that other sort of stuff.

But I love how you just pointed that back on you as the person because that’s what coaching is. It’s focusing on you. How can we change your thoughts to get the feelings, actions, and results that you want as opposed to saying, “How can we make other people in our life, do what they’re supposed to do so it makes me happy?” Which is the way that most of the world views it. 

Dr. Dan Presutti:

That’s a fast way to become just frustrated and exasperated beyond repair. It’s often just the simplest things where, like you said, you talked about essentially bringing other people up with your own interaction with them. Coaching provides that opportunity. It provides the opportunity to review yourself, self-reflection, and it provides the ability to work through issues and realize that, of course, there are external factors.

Whether it’s a lock or things that you can’t control for. There’s always going to be things like that in life. But the things that you can control for are within you. And certainly, and this is, I think above all is you can control, and you can work to have the response that you want to have to any situation.

Yes, the situation could be terrible. It could be something just terrible. Death of a loved one. It could be you winning the mega millions. But the only thing that you can control is how you respond to that and then how you take those experiences and then choose to grow from them.

You’re Not Alone In Your Circumstances

Dr. Dan Presutti:

There are so many people experiencing such similar circumstances in their life or what they consider to be problems. You are not alone in this.

It is so therapeutic for you to share. And honestly, it’s a very selfless thing too. You can share personal issues and especially you may be the reason that the other group member or the person who’s the private introvert does take that step. They realize that, hey, it’s not just me. I felt like I was on this island all by myself. And as soon as I opened my eyes, I realized that I’m not on an island. I’m surrounded by people just like me.

Final Thoughts

Dr. Dan Presutti: 

Putting in that little bit of effort into yourself to really help you develop will really just pave the way for the life that you want to live. Really, the growth that will ensue will truly amaze you just by taking the first step. And even if it’s in the smallest interaction that you have today with somebody, going slightly outside of your comfort zone, putting it out there. And you’ll be surprised at the changes that you’ll start seeing in yourself, and people that you’re around.

Jimmy:

That’s why we say start before you’re ready, and start by starting.

TPP

Episode 5 Transcript: Alpha Coaching with Dr. Dan Presutti
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