Dr. James Edward Sison
Occupational Health Physician and Professional Coach
Dr. James Sison’s venture into coaching was borne out of a sincere desire to better help his patients.
As a practitioner of Occupational Medicine, his focus is on work-related illnesses and diseases. He is a Diplomate of the Philippine College of Occupational Medicine, the sole Medical Specialty Society accredited by the DOLE to accredit company physicians. He worked at St. Luke’s Medical Center Global City for over 4 years, managing huge corporate clients like Globe Telecom and Okada Hotel, before moving on to directly managing his own set of companies like Nissan Philippines, The Net Group, Welders testing lab, Jimm’s coffee and Delfi Foods.
“When you are a doctor, you tend to rely on prescriptions to fix your patients’ problems quickly. But I realized so many of them do not really need a quick fix, but have deeper needs and issues. I wanted to help them and give them longer lasting, or even lifelong support.”
This is where coaching came in. James has a Physician family friend based in Singapore, whose main practice was coaching. He became curious and probed more about it, and the more he learned about coaching, the more he admired it, especially since he was also dealing with his own personal struggles. So he made the decision to take the ACTP under Benchmark Consulting. “I find coaching to be a very valuable way to help others alongside my medical practice. I help patients reframe the situation, I ask them questions that help them realize other possibilities for them, I actively listen to them, and by doing so, I am able to help them better.” Of course, the process wasn’t easy. He had to unlearn so much, especially the tendency to tell other people how exactly to solve their problems, and with all those years of study in medical school and being an expert in the field, the temptation was even greater. “Sometimes I had to ask myself: Am I a doctor or am I a coach? Well, now I am both. So I find a way to harmonize both professions in what I do.”
Coaching has also helped James practice empathy. “When you actively listen to people, you understand their struggles better. Like patients who have comorbidities like hypertension or diabetes and need to accept that they will now have to take maintenance medicines for life. Or those that need to avoid the food that makes them happy, and feel that these restrictions inhibit them from doing what they want. It is not easy for them.” The ability to coach even helps him diagnose psychological issues better and be more sensitive and perceptive with psychological symptoms, instead of directly sending people to see a psychiatrist right away.
Coaching has added significant value to his skillset, and it has made him more sought after by companies because he has an edge over other physicians by being able to coach.
“Many companies are very much invested in mental health programs for their teams, or even have this as one of their KPIs. So by getting a company physician who can also coach their team members, it is a great premium for them.”
Today, aside from being the company doctor of 5 companies, Dr. James Sison is also a consultant for a mental health service provider, and regularly gives lectures for various HMO companies as well as corporate clients on Nutrition, Diet, Mental Health, Stress Management, Hypertension, Cardio diseases, even Heatstroke, among other health and wellness topics.