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.

screen-shot-2016-12-19-at-13-23-17

* 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. 

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.

Screen Shot 2016-07-04 at 11.06.43

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.

One day workshops I’m running for the Faculty of Medical Leadership & Management (FMLM)

Click on the links below to view the details and how to book.

26th April 2016 9.30 to 4.30 – What Makes you Tick as Leader

What makes you tick as a leader? Understand your values and beliefs

27th April 2016 9.30 to 4.30 – Coaching & Mentoring for Doctors 

Coaching & Mentoring for Doctors – A practical guide to understanding the benefits of coaching and mentoring within medicine

3rd May 2016 9.30 to 4.30 – Time to Think 

Time to Think – Using Nancy Kline’s Thinking Environment to ignite the mind through the power of listening

4th May 2016 9.30 to 4.30 – The Art of Medicine

The Art of Medicine – Using art history visual appreciation skills to better understand how we process and interpret information

17th May 2016 9.30 to 4.30 – Lifelong Learning 

Lifelong learning and reflective practice

18th May 2016 9.30 to 4.30 – Time Management & Staying Resilient 

Time management and staying resilient

21st June 2016 9.30 to 4.30 – Leadership & Being a Role Model

Leadership & Being a Role Model: decision making and taking responsibility

22nd June 2016 9.30 to 4.30 – Communication: different styles, presentation and listening skills

Communication: different styles, presentation and listening skills

 

Excellent, helped me work out what I’m going to do in a positive way, excellent, thought-provoking and therapeutic. Brilliant fun cover so much ground really well and safely. – 2015 Participant.

If you would like to talk over these courses, call me on 0754 0593476 or email me at 

alexishutson@yahoo.com

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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Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 13.47.35Spotting when you might be getting stale and how to freshen up.

Renewal is an important part of personal development and it seems to be a theme for many of the people I work with. There is the very real potential to get slightly bored with doing the same things, or run out of ideas at any stage of your medical career, despite how busy you are. Obviously there are huge challenges at a day to day level for doctors currently, but it is important to recognise when you need a refresh in order to avoid starting to burn out.

Some of the signs that people describe having are; low energy, lack of interest and a feeling that they are not fulfilled. Left un-checked this can descend into low esteem, poor morale and unhappy working relationships.

This is difficult because Doctors are expected to manage their own careers and develop the non-clinical interests and ideas away from their clinical base; whether it be education, management, research or organisational development. But there is no clear pathway or training and development to access. On the flip side, as doctors you do have relative autonomy to explore options, as long as you priortise yourself.

In order to access the right opportunities or spot the potential in new areas, you need to know what matters to you and what is of interest.

Take time out to establish:

  • Your personal values
  • How you like to learn
  • What you have learnt about yourself and your work
  • What skills you have gained
  • What you would like to get better at or improve
  • What you would like to be a part of

Clarifying for yourself the above will help you identify what you are and are not interested in, and how you would like to make a change.

So, here are some of the things that people I know have undertaken in order to refresh:

  • Start a new activity (teaching/research)
  • Get involved in policy or strategy development
  • Take on role in professional society or college
  • Investigate roles in medical education (post and undergraduate)
  • Get involved in mentoring or appraisal
  • Join a ethics committee or NICE
  • Become the lead for a local service
  • Get involved with your Local Medical Committee or CCG
  • Join your Clinical Senate
  • Take on a quality improvement task/role or pathway redesign
  • Write articles / newsletters or a blog
  • Use social media to connect with people who have similar interests as you

Every single cell in the human body replaces itself over a period of seven years. That means there’s not even the smallest part of you now that was part of you seven years ago.” Steven Hall

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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So what is it that works for Doctors with coaching?

The following are typically what Doctors bring to coaching and are the reason, I think, it works so well:

  • A desire for self improvement and development
  • A self reflecting attitude that questions personal performance
  • A need for change to be realistic and purposeful
  • A wish to make learning practical and action based

And the most common postive feature that all Doctors say is crucial? The ability to talk through their thinking in a non judgemental environment.

But don’t take my word for it. Last month the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management and I worked together to film some mini videos on the subject of coaching for Doctors.

These give an interesting insight into why doctors seek out coaching and what they get from the experience. They are only about 3mins long so worth a quick watch. Click on the links below.

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 10.07.06Liz’s Story

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 10.09.28Chris’ Story

Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 14.42.17Alexis’s Story

 

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

alexishutson@yahoo.com

 

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Doctors need and want coaching and mentoring now more than ever.

Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 08.38.38I’ve noticed a surge in interest recently. Not just for my own practice, but also through running group training sessions and working with other organisations.

For example, last week I was at the Royal College of Radiologist looking through the submissions for their pilot project to run a national mentoring scheme by and for members. We’ve designed the project to be relatively small at first so have a limited number of places. But we were genuinely surprised and delighted by the volume (and quality) of people who wanted to help and be a part of the pilot by donating their time freely. This significant oversubscription and generosity of spirit tells me that Doctors recognize the need and unique benefits of coaching and mentoring now more than ever.

And the RCR is not alone in 2014. I know that the Royal College of Physicians are also planning on setting up a mentoring scheme this year and the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management (FMLM) are in the process of establishing a network of experienced coaches and mentors for their members, which I’m proud to be a part of.

So why the surge now?

Mentoring for Doctors has been long touted as a crucial part of on-going professional development and the key to developing clinical leadership skills. But we also know that in the past many Doctors have assumed that coaching & mentoring are for those in ‘difficulty’ and have tended to suppose it’s not for them. We also know that the pervading culture of medicine requires Doctors to be resilient and ‘just get on with it’.

I think the current interest and need is because the pressure on Doctors is now so great, and the stakes are so high, that individuals are eager for help, now more than ever.

Where can you get the support you need?

  • Doctors in Training – Your Deanery might have a mentoring scheme.
  • Hospital Doctors – Your employing Trust might have it’s own internal mentoring service.
  • General Practitioners – Your Local Medical Committee or CCG might have access to networks.
  • All – Look to your Royal College or Faculty and see if they have a scheme. Academy of Royal Colleges.
  • All – Take a look at the NHS Leadership Academy website and see what’s on offer.
  • All – Click here to see what the FMLM are up to.

Read more here about the benefits of developing non-clinical skills.

If you would like to talk over Coaching & Mentoring for Doctors call me on 0754 0593476 or email me at alexishutson@yahoo.com

I’ve been asked to speak at next months FMLM conference.

FMLM conference logo 2013

Coaching and mentoring are frequently hailed as a crucial element in leadership development for Doctors, but it still seems to be a ‘hidden’ activity that is often seen as only for those in ‘difficulty’.

My session at the FMLM conference will broach this subject and explore what successful coaching and mentoring can achieve for medics.

  • What does successful coaching and mentoring look like?
  • What do Doctors get out of it?
  • How does it develop non-clinical leadership skills?
The practical session will explore all these questions and more. It will give participants the opportunity consider their own practice as a coach / mentor, or consider how coaching and mentoring might benefit them.

If you wish to join me at the largest health leadership conference this year, you may want to take advantage of the £200 discount on the delegate rate, that I have agreed with Dods, the event organisers. Email Leslie de Hoog at Dods, leslie.dehoog@dods.co.uk to find out more.

Come say hello at the conference.
To book onto the conference visit this link.