Having just returned from the Leaders in Healthcare conference I’m thinking a lot about the linear nature of medical careers.

With other Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management (FMLM) Coaches, I had the opportunity to offer Speed Coaching to delegates and contributed to a number of breakout sessions. Hearing people talk about their career (whether early, mid or later) I was reminded of how difficult it can be for people to diverge from the usual path.

We know that the medical education and training pathway is long and hard. It clearly requires immense dedication, effort and focus. But it might not give people the time to think laterally or longer term about their options, ideas or passions.

I know that the situation is better than it used to be and people can take career breaks, fellowships and transfers, and equally I know the service need is significant – we need people on the ground. However, those who do take alternative pathways often feel isolated and can be made to feel bad about their choices.

People who have taken a divergent path often say they have benefited enormously and cite the following:

  • strengthened confidence and therefore resilience
  • increased sense of purpose and highly developed interest areas
  • better worklife balance and life perspective
  • broader and more diverse networks

And they sometimes say they think it makes them a better doctor.

I still think we have one of the best medical education systems in the world, despite the interference of the government. But I think it is useful to reflect on the route and destination – might it be worth being a bit divergent?

Early Career Doctors  – consider a year away from clinical practice as a National Medical Director’s Clinical Fellow with the FMLM CLICK HERE. 

Next application round starts this month for fellowships to start September 2018. CLICK HERE for an idea of the timeline.

If you would like to talk to me about your career development needs call me on 07540 593476 or email me at alexis@alexishutson.com. 

Last year NHSE funded a pilot for the Faculty of Medical Leadership & Management to offer coaching to GPs who were considering leaving practice.

The evaluation report is a fantastic endorsement of the power of coaching and clearly illustrates the positive impact that these interventions can make on peoples’ lives.

As the report says GPs overwhelmingly endorsed their experience of coaching, with 89% saying that they would take up coaching again. 

The coaches working on the pilot were:

  • John Aspden, Executive Coach and Director, Cognitions
  • Katherine Foreman, Executive Coach and Managing Director, Topeka Healthcare
  • Alexis Hutson, Executive Coach, Coaching Doctors
  • Liz McCaw, Executive Coach and Consultant, Headspace for Business

And the feedback about all the coaches was incredibly positive.

Alexis is extremely personable and easy to talk to. She is a great listener and really good at getting at the nub of the issue. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting with her and felt able to speak candidly with her about my thoughts, feelings and anxieties and about sensitive and personal issues as well as work, the workplace and wider issues which impact on work and life and the balance between the two.

CLICK HERE to read full report.

For more information contact FMLM at primarycare@fmlm.ac.uk.

Leadership development comes in many different forms, but it should always be seen as a practical endeavour.

A new programme developed by the Faculty of Leadership & Management (FMLM) team alongside the Royal College of Surgeons promises to be really interesting and crucially, focused on putting learning into action.

It is designed for new consultants (within five years of appointment) and exceptional senior trainees who hold the ambition to undertake significant leadership roles alongside their clinical practice.

You need to get your MD and CEO to support your application and you need to think about what leadership challenge you are or will soon be working on – so you can apply the programme learning back in your day job.

Application Deadline: 16 October 2017

First session: 21 November 2017

Medical leadership must move from an ‘amateur sport’ to a professional discipline.”Professor Peter Lees

Successful completion of the programme could lead to gaining Associate Fellowship of FMLM.

Click HERE to read all about the programme and apply.

 

We know that face to face coaching is best, but busy lives and hectic schedules can mean it’s tricky making time to meet.

Distance coaching

What is distance coaching?

By Distance Coaching (sometimes known as e-coaching) we mean that it is performed by email, telephone, SKYPE or FaceTime. It can work for many people; if the arrangements are clearly set out between both parties. The groundwork to set it up is worth investing in and should be a collaborative approach by both people.

However, I think it is advisable to meet at least once in person so that you can establish rapport and get to know each other. This allows you to use the distance methods more effectively and with greater confidence.

So, whilst the distance communication methods can be incredibly convenient, there are disadvantages to this method:

  • Email – Cannot pick up on visual clues and inferences that might be useful.
  • SKYPE/FaceTime – Internet/connection issues can interfere with the call.
  • Telephone – Privacy of the call, no visual clues and interruptions can cause difficulties.

However, the benefits:

  • Email – Doesn’t need to be carried out in real time and can give both parties time to reflect. Useful for quick updates.
  • SKYPE/FaceTime – Free to use, no travel and has many of the benefits of face to face meetings.
  • Telephone – Has an ‘intimate’ quality to the conversation that many value and it is, with practice, possible to pick up on non-vernal clues.

What will work for you?

It is worth considering the geography and ease of travel between you and coach. Many people find the travel time to and from sessions useful for gathering their thoughts, but equally if the distance and time needed to attend is significant, it will be a barrier to meeting.

Think about your schedule and access to communication options. If you have an office that is private and with decent internet, then Skype/FaceTime maybe a great way to virtually meet.

Perhaps the nature of the coaching is more suited to phone calls due to time availability and the content for discussion. Email could work in this way also, especially if you are sharing practical information and updating on progress.

Who likes distance coaching?

  • People with limited time to travel and very tight schedules
  • People who have a very specific goal that is time bound (e.g. job interview)
  • People who prefer the intimacy/privacy of communicating from their home
  • People who like the efficiency and accessibility of a distance arrangement

Good Practice

You should apply good practice to these distance sessions – as you would for a face to face session.

That is:

  • Prepare for and think about what will be discussed.
  • Make sure the space you have is undisturbed and free of distractions.
  • Stay focussed and attentive to conversation.
  • Agree on actions to be taken forward.
  • Reflect on the learning gained.

Final thoughts

A lack of face to face contact can mean that it is difficult or takes longer to build rapport. This is a crucial part of managing the relationship between a coach and coachee, so make sure you do meet at least once, if possible.

Distractions and interruptions are harder to manage remotely, so will require you to be disciplined about your immediate environment – for the benefit of you both.

Once you have established the best method for both parties and you have agreed the practicalities of how it will work, it can be a brilliant way of coaching without the need to meet face to face.

The quality of your attention determines the quality of other people’s thinking.” 

Nancy Kline

I think his can be done at a distance.

If you would like to talk to me about coaching at a distance call me on 0754 0593476 or email me at alexis@alexishutson.com 

As a coach I encourage those I work with to put their learning into action.

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But I know this is not easy and requires ongoing support and input to encourage actively learning from experiences – through the day job. I also know that when I’m facilitating courses and programmes to groups, people really value and enjoy engaging with and learning from fellow clinicians.

Thats why I helped design and am looking forward to delivering Action Learning Sets (ALS) for Doctors organised by the FMLM*.

The idea

You benefit from a learning programme designed with medical leadership development at its heart, with the advantage of professional facilitation by experienced coaches and the value of learning with a liked-minded group of doctors who you can build a network with.

The programme

With the Action Learning Set programme, not only will you learn and develop those essential leadership and management skills as needed by today’s clinicians but you will also develop an exciting new way of learning through Action Learning Set facilitation and learn just how you could use this approach on your own clinical and leadership journey.
The four sessions will cover:
  • Individual development and how to better understand yourself
  • Developing team working and managing change.
  • Organisational working, exploring you as an individual and as a team member in the overall context of the system.
  • Using the skills you have learnt from previous sets to self-facilitate and explore opportunities beyond the ALS programme.

The programme is for doctors who are either in or moving to a leadership and management role and will be delivered via four half-day sessions between September and December 2017, one set in London, one set in Birmingham.

Dates for the Birmingham set: Wednesday 20 September, Wedensday 18 October, Wednesday 15 November and Wednesday 13 December. This will be run by myself and colleague Liz McCaw.

Dates for the London set: Thursday 14 September, Thursday 12 October, Thursday 9 November and Thursday 7 December. This will be run by John Aspden and colleague Liz McCaw.

Cost: £750 for the whole programme (thats £187.50 for each half day!)

*Faculty of Medical Leadership & Management

Leadership is not a theoretical exercise, but a practical endeavour.”

Click HERE to register with the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management for a Action Learning Set.

How we get on with people at work really affects us. Seems obvious, but it is not easy, especially when everyone is under so much pressure.

Face to faceWhen working with teams or individuals the quality of our relationships; our ability to trust and manage healthy conflict all contribute to our sense of well-being and ultimately resilience. But obviously we all have a different approach to managing our relationships, based on our underlying needs and what we are prepared to show we want.

So, as part of my CPD for 2017 I decided to train in a diagnostic tool with OPP to learn more about our interpersonal behaviours – specifically how we orientate ourselves to those around us. This is why I chose the FIRO (Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation) instrument. It is grounded in solid research developed over 50years and gives practical insight with an objective report on what you might want and how you might express this to others.

Why is this useful in a busy healthcare environment?

Those of us who have worked in or continue to work in the healthcare sector know, without a doubt, that it is the people that really make the system what it is. And it is the quality of their relationships with each other that see them through times of great stress or brilliant innovation. So understanding how you orientate your self to others is a additional insight that is highly valuable.

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So how does FIRO work?

The model breaks down into three areas that Will Schutz described in1958  -originally devised to measure and predict the interaction between people for the purpose of assembling highly productive teams in the US Navy.

 

Schutz describes our interpersonal needs* as:

Involvement    Influence    Connection 

*FIRO Business version

Schutz says these interpersonal needs are as basic as our need for food, shelter and water.

The model scores you across these three areas, but crucially it breaks this down further into ‘Expressed Behaviours’ (what others see you displaying as your need) and ‘Wanted Behaviours’ (what you’d like to receive from others, but might be less visible).

Example: I got a score that is relatively high for Expressed Involvement but lower for Wanted Involvement. What this could mean is that I express visibly a need for involvement in group activities – that is what people are seeing, but my actual need for involvement is lower than this = potential mixed messages?

Aligning FIRO, MBTI and Leadership Development

Helpfully the FIRO model can be used alongside your existing MBTI learning because both MBTI and FIRO give you a perspective on your leadership behaviours that can be incredibility helpful in understanding how you interact with and affect those around you.

Both instruments tap into key aspects of personality and behavior in areas such as communication, problem solving, decision making, and interpersonal relations. The instruments are also distinct, each providing a view of your leadership personality through a different window. Together, they complement each other and provide rich information of use in your personal, ongoing leadership development program. OPP Leadership Report using MBTI and FIRO. 

FIRO for Individuals and Teams

As with MBTI Step I & II, you can use FIRO to build self awareness in individuals and then use this to enable greater understanding of difference and similarities within teams.

More group work

If you would like to talk to me about FIRO and your development needs as a individual or your team call me on 0754 0593476 or email me at alexis@alexishutson.com. 

screen-shot-2016-12-19-at-12-51-39I have spent most of my time this year giving Doctors time to think.

I have done this through one to one personal development coaching, and working with groups of people in workshops and facilitating training. I have really enjoyed it and it has been my busiest year yet.

What seems to characterise my work with people is providing the time, space and structure to think through challenges, ideas, and opportunities in an environment that is free from the pressure and restrictions of our normal working day. Supporting people to have a more transformational rather than transactional approach to problem-solving or decision-making is truly rewarding.

So here are some of the headlines that I think sum up 2016:

  • Doctors really value being listened to and having the space the think things through.
  • Doctors can make rapid progress towards realising their objectives if given this space.
  • Doctors are resilient people but they need to invest in themselves more.
  • Doctors are thinking about their careers more proactively and with greater ambition.
  • Doctors are increasingly interested in coaching/mentoring both for themselves and for supporting others.
  • Doctors can access coaching/mentoring through a variety of methods or organisations* – more so than ever.

And here are my professional delivery headlines:

  • I’ve delivered 181hours of one to one coaching in 2016
  • I’ve delivered 44 workshops / facilitated training sessions in 2016

Favourite quote of the year from a coaching client:

Sleeping better, waking refreshed and ready for work. Have already regained a huge amount of energy and enthusiasm. Thanks for your help.

The end of the year is a natural time to look back, and think about the future. Make sure you make time for yourself and invest in your future.

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* Find a coach through the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management HERE. Access a mentor through your NHS Trust or professional body. Ask your Local Medical Committee to see if they have a scheme.

If you would like to talk over your, or your teams development goals for 2017, call me on 0754 0593476 or email me at alexis@alexishutson.com. 

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-11-24-54Understanding the DNA of Personality Type and Leadership Development for Doctors

I’ve just returned from the annual Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management (FMLM) Leaders in Heathcare 2016 conference. A key message from many of the speakers was that leadership development starts from within. Couldn’t agree more – but how do you do this if you haven’t the time or the resources to go on an expensive leadership development programme?

Senior Doctors told me at the conference that their leadership roles are often characterised by:

  • Not enough time to do it well
  • Imposter syndrome (feeling that you are promoted beyond your skill/capabilities)
  • Feeling isolated with insufficient support
  • Having to learn on the job (no or little training offered)
  • Expected to deliver far too quickly
  • Expected to deliver on things that are outside of your direct control
  • Lack of clarity over the role and scope of role much larger than anticipated

Through coaching doctors over the years I have found that enabling doctors to understand themselves (and the people around them) helps to manage some of these difficulties encountered in leadership roles. A great way of understanding behaviours, strengths and weaknesses is by using the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). It supports self awareness and strengthens leadership practice.

MBTI Step II takes self undestanding to a deeper level.  With step II you learn how your preferences for the Extrovert – Introvert, Sensing – iNtuition, Thinking – Feeling and Judging – Perceiving functions are affected by specific behavioural facets. Under each of the function pairs (e.g. E-I) sit ten facets of behaviours and Step II measures you against these. This allows people to see the subtly and complexity of what makes them tick and build a richer view of why they prefer different ways of doing things. This enables you to be more specific about how you want to develop.

You can read more about this when I wrote a blog for OPP (European administrators of MBTI) late last year HERE.

I’ve been using Step II for over a year now and have seen how the model can support people to review their approach to leadership and adapt their strengths to work more productively within the context they are operating in.

I’m delivering an open access course on the 6th December 2016 in London for FMLM. To find out how to book click HERE.

 

If you would like to talk over developing your leadership skills with MBTI Step II, call me on

0754 0593476 or email me at alexishutson@yahoo.com. 

 

 

 

Limited places left on NHSE funded coaching for GPs.

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 10.18.11There is still time to apply for this opportunity to be coached by one of the FMLM (Faculty of Medical Leadership & Management) coaches – and I’m one.

Want to know more? FMLM LINK HERE

Closing date 17th June 2016 5pm. 

If you are curious about what coaching could do for you, CLICK HERE.

Feedback on leadership and management skills is always valuable.

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One of the most powerful ways to assess your performance and development needs is to gain meaningful feedback from those with whom you work. This is particularly true for developing your leadership skills as these are often more complex to observe or measure, so gathering as much data as you can is important. And aligning this to decent leadership standards makes the process especially productive and relevant to medical leadership and management performance areas.

This can be useful when you are applying for a new job or role, planning your appraisal, CPD or considering a career change or transition.

I’ve started to recommend and use the recently launched FMLM 360 tool as this follows the FMLM Leadership Standards that have been specifically designed for medical leaders. These standards roughly fall into the three leadership areas of Self, Team Player/Leader and Organisational Responsibility and System Leadership. Also, the 360 tool allows you to register as – a team member, team leader, operational leader and strategic leader meaning that you can assess your leadership development at any stage in your medical career. Find out more about about FMLM 360 HERE (£72.00 including VAT).

The trick with feedback though is to turn the potential learning into action. I think reflection on the nature of the feedback, understanding the different perceptions, considering the themes that occur are important, but doing something about this is key. I often use the following questions when I receive feedback or when I’m supporting others to action plan on the back of 360 reports:

1. What is valuable to me and how can it make me more effective?

2. What are the benefits to me and those I work with?

3. What can I practically do to enact this learning?

4. Who can I share this with in order to help me or hold me to account?

Of course there may be feedback in the 360 report that you don’t agree with or may feel unfair. You may be right, but it is important to still reflect on the context, why someone may have viewed you or the situation in this way and what you can extract that is still of value to you.

If you would like to talk over your 360 report call me on 0754 0593476 or email me at alexishutson@yahoo.com. 

We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve. Bill Gates