Helping our faculty to thrive throughout their career is a priority for
UW School of Medicine.

The Faculty Coaching Program is focused on professional development of our mid-career faculty given the positive impact on leadership development, well-being, and supporting them and their teams. This program is growth-oriented with a goal of improving job satisfaction and providing support for faculty at career transition points, particularly those who have moved into or are considering leadership roles.

Click the drop downs below to learn about each coach. All of the coaches have received ICF professional coach training.

Alex Molnar

General availability: Mondays

I partner with faculty of the UW School of Medicine to explore their own values and strengths so they can move forward joyfully in their life and career.  

Alex enjoys working with individuals to identify their strengths and leverage those toward achieving their goals. She is continuously exploring resources to support her clients better.  

Alex is a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine, a practicing internist with over 20 years of experience in academic medicine. She has successfully coached medical students, residents and faculty through both formal and informal coaching relationships. She is a committed teacher and believes that coaching in healthcare is a powerful tool for growth and joyful practice. To this end, she has developed and delivered faculty development workshops on coaching.  Alex’s goal within this work has been to support people in their growth through personal discovery and purposeful action. 

Alex trained as an internal medicine physician and provides primary care to refugees and immigrants at Harborview’s International Medicine Clinic. She also attends on the inpatient medicine wards. Her career has included many aspects of academic medicine, including translational and medical education research, providing clinical care in a tertiary care hospital, and educational program development and program administration. Alex has honed her skills as a coach working with medical students as a college mentor and college head over a decade and through work with residents and faculty. She finds satisfaction in asking thought-provoking questions and assisting individuals in uncovering joy within their work and creating a path forward. 

Grace Shih

General availability: Mondays and Tuesdays

I help people integrate their strengths and values into all aspects of their lives. 

Grace envisions coaching as a creative and collaborative process built on trust. She recognizes that every person possesses inherent strengths and fundamental values that play a pivotal role in crafting a fulfilling life. She enjoys helping others gain insights on their strengths and core values, so that they can find and maintain joy in their careers. Grace believes in the coaching tenet that every person is creative, resourceful, and whole and has the answers within themselves. 

Grace has dedicated her career to faculty development. Her interest in coaching emerged from observing its profound effect on fostering support and empowerment for sustained, meaningful career satisfaction. Building upon this foundation, she remains committed to honing her coaching abilities and is actively pursuing her ICF certification to enrich her expertise. 

Grace’s specific areas of coaching interest include overwhelm and priorities management, work life integration, navigating career transitions, enhancing leadership skills, and managing conflict. Grace is committed to supporting female identified faculty, BIPOC faculty, and faculty from other marginalized groups within academic medicine. Grace’s coaching is not only about professional growth but also about personal well-being and resilience. 

Grace is an Associate Professor at the University of Washington (UW) Department of Family Medicine. She has been in academic medicine for 15 years and has focused the last 5 years on faculty development. Grace trained as a family physician and completed a fellowship in family planning. She is Director of the Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, Idaho (WWAMI) Family Medicine Residency Network (FMRN) and Co-Director of the UW Reproductive Health Advocacy Project (RHAP) Fellowship. She has clinical practices at UWPC Northgate and Planned Parenthood. 

Mark Whipple

Mark is not currently accepting new coaching clients. He will be available again in Spring 2024.

I help faculty explore their strengths and values in order to set and achieve goals and create meaningful and rewarding careers.

Each of us has the capacity to define our goals and shape our future. In over two decades at the UW School of Medicine (SoM), Mark has had the opportunity to explore multiple roles within research, the clinical enterprise, and the School of Medicine.  As a coach, he is dedicated to helping faculty gain clarity about their own values, passions, and goals. By fostering self-awareness, he aims to enable faculty to make informed decisions and plans that align with their authentic self.

Mark is a Professor of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery with a joint appointment in Biomedical Informatics and Medical Education. During his time at the UW SoM he has gained insight into the complex roles and structures of academic medicine. Through multiple positions at the UW SoM, he has formally coached faculty, residents and medical students. Using an approach of active inquiry, he helps faculty harness their internal and external resources and develop plans of action to achieve results. Mark especially enjoys coaching in the areas of career growth and transition, taking on leadership roles, and thinking strategically around complex challenges.

Sherilyn Smith

Sherilyn is not currently accepting new coaching clients. She will be available again in December 2023.

I partner with leaders to connect deeply with their own values and strengths so they can empower others to move their organizations to the next level of excellence.

Sherilyn is Professor Emerita at the University of Washington, a retired academic pediatrician and an ICF Associate Certified Coach (ACC) with over 30 years of experience in academic medicine in the U.S. Her deep knowledge of the roles and responsibilities of academic faculty informs her coaching focus and approach. Sherilyn’s areas of coaching expertise include developing leadership skills, optimizing scholarly productivity (including grant writing and manuscript preparation), program development, navigating the promotion process, transitioning to retirement, increasing satisfaction with clinical responsibilities, enhancing teaching abilities and developing long-term career goals.

Sherilyn’s coaching approach is person-centered and leverages appreciative inquiry, foundations of contemporary neuroscience and design thinking. She works with clients to identify their core values and individual strengths to co-create a safe space for productive experimentation toward achieving their goals. She is continuously exploring and leveraging concepts and techniques from a wide variety of leadership and coaching fields to meet her client’s needs.

Sherilyn has successfully coached mid- and late-career faculty transitioning into new leadership roles, participating in institutional strategic planning, negotiating workplace relationships, and planning the next phase of their careers. She is a passionate teacher and believes that coaching in healthcare is an underutilized leadership approach. To this end, she works with other coaches to develop and deliver faculty development sessions about coaching and its application in academic medicine at the national level.

Sherilyn trained as a pediatric infectious disease physician and provided care to families and children with complex medical problems at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Her career has included all aspects of academic medicine, including basic science and medical education research, providing clinical care in a tertiary care children’s hospital, educational program development and program administration for all levels of undergraduate and graduate medical trainees. She held multiple leadership positions at the University of Washington, including Co-director of Pediatric Undergraduate Medical Education, Head of Big Sky College (a learning community at UWSOM), Co-Chair of the Educational Quality Improvement and Strategic Planning Committee and Chair of the Curriculum Committee. Sherilyn also has served in national leadership positions in several medical education organizations in pediatrics and as the chief academic officer for an educational nonprofit, Aquifer Inc (

Frequently Asked Questions about the Faculty Coaching Program

What is coaching and how does it differ from mentoring?

A coach is trained to use inquiry as a central strategy to help clients co-create a vision and path to move to the next stage in their career. The relationship is confidential, short-term, and aimed to facilitate the client achieving their fullest potential through enhancing skills, self-awareness, and self-management In contrast to mentorship models, an academic coach may or may not have expertise in the realm of the self-identified need(s) in their client, but they are skilled at helping the client accurately reflect on their performance, their needs for growth, and gain insight into desired outcomes. Coaches help clients create specific action-oriented plans to achieve their goals while providing a space for accountability and re-assessment of their needs. Coaching has been found to be an effective strategy for organizations to build stronger teams and leaders but has been underutilized in academic medicine

Two additional resources to consider for those seeking other support are our Peer to Peer Program and the Washington Employee Assistance Program (WA EAP).

Why should I get coaching?

The literature supports the ideal use of coaching for growth-focused career development.   A number of leaders in academic medicine (locally and across the country) have found executive coaching to be an important tool for their own leadership growth.  We recognize the need for ongoing external executive coaching for senior leadership throughout UW Medicine and feel this internal program complements various uses of external coaching.  This program responds to the identified need of professional growth for mid-career faculty leaders, to address barriers (e.g., cost, availability, and identification of the coaches with expertise in specific areas), and equity (i.e., accessibility for coaching across departments in the SoM).

If I am selected to receive coaching in this first year of the program, who will be my coach?

We have four coaches currently. Please review their bios and general availabilities toward the top of this page.

I am in queue waiting for coaching. How long will my wait be?

Each coach has a cohort of individual faculty they are coaching for seven months at a time. If you are in queue and need more immediate support, please reach out to Giana Davidson, Assistant Dean for Professional Development, at and/or the coaching program at

I have a faculty colleague who is having a problem with professionalism; can a coach in this program be used for this reason?

No, this coaching program is for self-directed leadership development, well-being, and to support faculty thriving in their academic career. Response to remediation is outside the scope of this program and handled within School of Medicine departments.