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 

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. 

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

The NHS cannot afford to let its junior workforce become disengaged. Wathes & Spurgeon. (FMLM pub.)

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I’ve been delivering leadership and management workshops for junior doctors over the last couple of months. It has given me fresh insight into the challenges faced by this part of the medical workforce and the personal pressures these dedicated people are facing.

A paper really worth reading on the engagement of junior doctors is recently published by the Faculty of Medical Leadership & Management (FMLM). You can download it from their website HERE.

A key finding in this exploratory study undertaken by Wathes and Spurgeon for the FMLM, is that the transitionary nature of junior doctors working lives is a key barrier to their engagement and involvement in service improvement. If you are only around for a few months (i.e. in your Foundation Training) how can you really be expected to be integrated thoroughly and therefore engaged meaningfully? However this unique perspective that junior doctors have of the service – seeing and experiencing many different approaches and ideas is worth harnessing and the energy and passion of juniors is always impressive.

However the government’s mishandling of the junior doctors contract has adversely affected this energy and passion, meaning that engaging and integrating junior doctors is going to be even more challenging in the future.

…their energy must be tapped not sapped .” Bruce Keogh.

Why does supervision matter?

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 10.40.38I ran a session for doctors in the West Midlands last week who volunteer their time to mentor colleagues. The session focussed on why mentors (and coaches) need supervision. 

‘Supervision’ – it’s an unhelpful word though. Supervision implies a policing or checking that is thrust upon us and is unwelcome. However, if done well it can be incredibly useful and important. 

The CIPD (Chartered Institute of Professional Development) highlight three areas that supervision for mentors/coaches should cover: 

  • qualitative function (checking and reviewing the quality of the service you offer – needs to be done no matter how experienced you are)
  • developmental function (reviewing your skills, understanding your capabilities through reflection and exploration)
  • resourcing function (provides emotional support enabling the mentor to deal with the intensity of working with clients)

To read the CIPD paper detailing this click HERE. These three areas form a useful structure for reviewing your practice and CPD as a mentor or coach. Looking after the service you deliver (whether paid or volunteered) needs to take a high priority as you are often working in a isolated way. 

And it can be a lonely experience. Obviously the information you hear and help people with is confidential, so you are often absorbing lots of personal experiences that are sometimes uncomfortable for the person you are supporting. Having the resource to deal with this is important. That’s why similar professions like psychologists have regular supervisors. 

If you don’t have a supervisor what should you do?

  1. If you are part of a organisation scheme see if you can buddy-up with a fellow mentor to start the process of review and development. Or, see if there is a lead mentor in the scheme who can offer this option. They should be qualified and experienced. 
  2. If you are a lone mentor, see if you can reciprocate with a fellow mentor/coach you know who you can share the supervision with. Or, Consider hiring a mentor or coach to support you. 

The EMCC (European Mentoring & Coaching Council) and the CIPD recommends that mentors and coaches should receive regular supervision, usually calculated on how many hours of mentoring you are doing per month. For example, at least every two months or 1:35 ratio of supervision to coaching.

The bottom line is, you need to look after yourself and strive for continuous improvement because as we know, being a coach or mentor is exciting because it is a continual learning process.

Executive coaches are typically seen as being professionals, and compared with other professions, such as therapy and counselling, where supervision has long been an essential part of continuous professional development, quality management and the maintenance of boundaries, especially in terms of client protection. Mentors, by contrast, have typically been seen as amateurs – less well-trained, operating in an unpaid capacity. That assumption is increasingly questionable.. David Clutterbuck.

To see the standards the EMCC set, click HERE 

David Clutterbuck on Supervision for Mentors Click HERE

If you would like to talk over your development call me on 0754 0593476 or email me at 

alexishutson@yahoo.com

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I usually write a blog once a month to share my thinking and experiences of coaching and mentoring doctors. I keep them short and to the point and try to include information on the practical application of the learning.

 

 

For example here is a blog on Doctors as Mentors and here is a blog on Teamwork and Doctors.

If you would like to receive an email alerting you when these blogs are posted, pop your email address in the box below and subscribe to the blog.

Don’t worry, I won’t bombard you with emails and if you find its not for you, unsubscribe at any time.

If you find the blogs interesting and useful, tell me and post a reply at any time.

Subscribe to these blogs..

 

If you would like to talk over coaching call me on 0754 0593476 or email me at 

alexishutson@yahoo.com

Thought it would be useful to list some of the most popular subjects I’ve covered over the last two years.

I’ve popped in quick links to the blog page where it was covered. Hope this is useful.

Screen Shot 2013-06-18 at 20.07.49One year ago today, I started this blog about coaching doctors.

It’s been a great year and I’ve enjoyed working with all my clients. They have included people planning for their first Consultant post, women GPs managing part-time work & families and senior secondary care Consultants taking on new projects. Many clients have wanted to get better at managing time, projects and conflict, and just about everyone has had insights into how they could do things differently to get better outcomes. Whilst every one of my clients is different, I thought I would share with you my top five observations from the last 12months of coaching doctors.

1. Doctors need to be encouraged to prioritise themselves more.

2. Doctors value having time to think, reflect and consider their development needs with someone ‘independant’.

3. Doctors’ personal lives benefit when they improve their professional performance.

4. Doctors like understanding their strengths & weaknesses and developing them. 

5. Doctors learn fast and make quick progress.

What do you think? Post your thoughts below.

Call 0754 0593476 or email me on alexishutson@yahoo.com.