This study evaluated the benefits of formal coaching within a mentorship program in a Canadian academic medical department. Between April 2016 and September 2018, an executive coach was made available to members of the Department of Oncology at the University of Calgary. Thirty-seven individuals sought and received formal coaching during this period, using up an average of four hourly sessions; of these individuals, 13% (20/150) are full-time faculty. Issues that facilitated interest in coaching included the following: needing to develop an individual life plan, wanting to improve work–life balance/time management and seeking advice about promotion or job application. This study found that coaching enabled participants to address their concerns 70% of the time and describes the elements of a coaching function within academic medical departments. We strongly recommend that academic departments provide opportunities for interested individual academics to receive coaching.