When was the last time you thought about what you want to achieve, for you?

When I first meet clients one of the first things we start to discuss is what they want to achieve. Some Doctors are quite clear about their goals; a job opportunity, a project to lead, or improvements to their GP practice for example. Others need more time to define the development they want to make through communication style or understanding the group dynamics in their team.

Either way, goal setting is crucial. It’ s hard because goals are often set for us with clinical / management targets or career progression tasks. Actually setting personal professional goals is much harder. The distractions of daily life and professional pressures can really get in the way.

That is why I think it is so important to spend time exploring, testing and defining goals. And it’s OK if they evolve because coaching gives you the opportunity to reflect and evaluate regularly. Sometimes this means adjusting your goal as your thinking depends and your experience broadens.

Last week a client said to me “Am I still on track? I feel I’m constantly distracted by the issues that occur in the here and now.” Because this client has a clear and specific goal, I could say, “Yes.” If you know what you are heading towards and you have a plan to follow, then the here and now can be harnessed to help you. By having a clear vision of your future and using your immediate reality as a stepping-stone, you can link now with the future.

To live is to choose. But to choose well, you must know who you are and what you stand for, where you want to go and why you want to get there.

Kolfi Annan

I’m really enjoying watching the Olympics. It is inspiring to watch people reaching towards their goals and fulfilling their potential. Heartbreaking for them when they don’t, and fabulous to see the joy when they do. But what has really struck me over the last few days is how clear-cut it appears. You win, you lose. You get a medal, you don’t. I envy this with sporting performance. There is seemingly less grey area and it is obvious what you are aiming for so; all the hard work is directed at one point.

My clients are all Doctors and I think they know what this kind of hard work over many years feels like. They know what the step by step achievements mean, the sacrifices it takes and how it moves them that little bit closer to their goal of becoming a GP Partner or Consultant. It seems like an Olympic effort.

But after the Olympics are over, or you have got that Partner / Consultant post? What next, how do you take stock, redefine where next and what to do? How can you continue to develop your performance, judgement and practice for rest of your professional life and what do you aim for?

I believe coaching helps you identify, plan for and sustain your personal best.

There was a moment in sports when employing a coach was unimaginable—and then came a time when not doing so was unimaginable. We care about results in sports, and if we care half as much about results in schools and in hospitals we may reach the same conclusion.”

Atul Gwande (Endocrine Surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts)

For full article in the New Yorker Click Here