Increasingly, doctors are being explicitly tasked with providing both coaching and mentoring within their professional practice.

Not everyone has the opportunity to attend training and explore their skills thoroughly. However, friend and colleague Dr Jane Povey writes about embarking on a professional coach-mentoring qualification here.

 

As a Mum, and in my various professional roles as a GP, medical manager, non-executive director and social entrepreneur, I try to use coaching techniques.

However, working with a range of expert coaches and people developers over recent years has given me the appetite to better equip myself in coaching so I signed up for The Oxford Coach Mentoring school (OCM) Diploma in professional coaching and mentoring.

I was fairly organised as I got underway with the programme in the New Year, booking workshops and finding my three ‘guinea-pig’ coachees. Then I completely lost my confidence and didn’t know where to start. I wasn’t sure how to function as a ‘proper coach’.

Fortunately, my first session with my coach-mentor-supervisor was next on my to-do list and, although I wondered how she would be able to help me convert my fearfulness into a sense of readiness for my first coaching session in an hour over Skype, she did it.

With her poignant, simple questions she enabled me to realise that, through pulling on my range of experiences (professional and other), and being myself, I was good enough to give it a go.

I was particularly concerned about how to do the contracting, including how to establish our boundaries, moving from the clinical and managerial relationships I am used to, towards a coaching relationship with my clients. The way I am explaining this to my coachees is that I come to them bringing my full range of experience, but not acting as a doctor or manager, recognising if there is need to signpost elsewhere. I drafted a coaching agreement and discussing this proved to be a really straight forward way to build rapport and ease us into our initial coaching discussion.

It was liberating! Having the time and headspace to listen, observe and offer a few probing questions to enable their thinking, was so refreshing compared to having to fix a clinical problem or deliver a management task. It was wonderful to be able to almost see the cogs turning as their thoughts unfolded.

Now I am lapping up the mix of coaching, workshops, reading, drafting reflective notes, enjoying hugely valuable feedback on my reflective practice from my tutor and therefore re-drafting the reflective notes.

I have always thought myself to be reflective, but I am now discovering how to take time to reflect more deeply. Examples being exploring in more detail when something interesting arises, and reflecting on how I am evolving my coaching style and approach based on what happens during coaching sessions. I’m also meeting a variety of fascinating and inspiring experienced coaches and coaches in training.

I now see my coaching journey in the form of a tree, my personal values as the roots and my range of experience to date as the trunk with some branches where I have been using coaching informally. What I am now doing is growing further branches as I better understand coaching and mentoring and developing a vibrant range of fruits as I collect, practise and employ coaching and mentoring theories, methods, tools and tactics.

This brings to mind one of my favourite definitions of leadership.

So, the point is not to become a leader. The point is to become yourself, to use yourself completely — all your skills, gifts, and energies … you must … become the person you started out to be, and … enjoy the process of becoming.” Warren Bennis

I reckon this is a pretty good definition of becoming a ‘proper’ coach.

Dr Jane Povey

  • Deputy Medical Director and Founding Senior Fellow – Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management
  • Founding Director – Creative Inspiration Shropshire CIC
  • Non-Executive Director – The Gold Standards Framework Centre
  • Advisory Board Member  – University Centre Shrewsbury, University of Chester
  • Dr Jane Povey Ltd  – Coaching, Mentoring and Consultancy

 

 

 

 

 

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.

I regularly run training sessions for mentors and mentees to help them make the most of this powerful developmental opportunity.

 

Last November I ran a webinar for the Academy of Medical Sciences and you can see the full session through this link – 1 hour webinar.

Link to You Tube of Webinar

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Other organisations I am currently working with to support mentoring schemes include:

  • Nottingham University Medical School
  • The Royal College of Radiologists
  • The Faculty of Medical Leadership & Management
  • African Mental Health Research Initiative – Kings College London
  • British Society of Immunology

And if you would like to watch a second webinar which goes into a bit more detail you can view it HERE

If you would like to talk to me about your mentoring scheme, 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. 

Do you want to set up or boost an existing mentoring scheme?

Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 15.14.10Increasingly organisations are setting up mentoring schemes and I’m often asked to support the training of mentors and mentees for them. This is great news, but developing a successful scheme is not straight forward and many have fallen by the wayside through lack of resources or investment; even when a willing cohort of mentees and mentors exists.

The Academy of Medical Sciences (AMS) has a well established scheme that has been running since 2002 and have freely published a wealth of resources on their website to support other’s in setting up a scheme. MORE HERE.

In addition, the AMS are running a good practice and development workshop on 15th September 2016 (13:00 – 17:00). They will showcase their own scheme and have invited other organisations to share their learning and practice. This will include Nottingham University Medical School, Professor Lis Paice and I will be facilitating the afternoon.

Venue: The Academy of Medical Sciences, 41 Portland Place, London W1B 1QH.

To see more and book your place CLICK HERE

If that is what I can achieve in five minutes, imagine what I can do in an hour.”

Above quote – participant of my recent workshop ‘Leadership and being a role model: decision making and taking responsibility’ for the FMLM.

Screen Shot 2016-07-04 at 12.53.09If you have attended one of my workshops, you will be aware that I almost always use Nancy Kline‘s ‘Thinking Partnerships’ model in workshops. This technique gives people the opportunity to receive and give uninterrupted thinking time, a rarity.

These workshop moments (usually 5minutes) are welcomed, although the technique can take some getting used to. It is probably because our access to time to think is rapidly shrinking, partly because of the increased demands and expectations placed on us, but partly because technology has exposed us to being constantly connected so we don’t switch off, literally. I see this as a problem, not only for us in general, but in particular for our leadership practice.

The pace of work and pressures placed on people force us to do more, work harder and cram in extra hours. We actually don’t have time to think and whilst we can achieve a lot of activity, is it productive and sustainable? Only through stopping, reflecting and gaining perspective can we establish if we are being productive and supporting those around us. Reflection and gaining perspective are crucial to leadership practice – as one of my recent Doctors who completed a coaching programme with me highlighted. He is an incredibly busy man balancing his clinical commitments against his leadership priorities and a couple of his learning points were:

  1. Improved approach to prioritising what is important and what isn’t.
  2. Understanding that Leadership is often more about influencing others rather than telling them what to do.

He couldn’t have worked on these (and other areas) without time to think and his pre-coaching and post-coaching questionnaire highlighted his progress. Despite an incredibly turbulent year, he feels more resilient than a year ago because he has had time to think things through.

We need to get back into the habit of thinking well for ourselves.

A decent way to invest in your leadership practice would be to attend the Leaders in Healthcare conference 31.10.16 to 2.11.16 Liverpool.

I and other FMLM Coaches will be there and are running an exciting session on day one called ‘Coaching for leaders: A worthwhile investment?’ This will be highly interactive and you will have the chance to access learning through 8 executive coaches on a range of subjects.

I’ll be there on my table titled Time Management.

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If you would like time to think about your leadership development, 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.