Inevitably, this is a time of reflection. We ask ourselves, what have we done? what are we doing? and where are we going?

 

That can be particularly important if, like me, you are middle aged. I’ve written about the mid-life transition previously (as explored by Carl Jung HERE) and one of the suggestions he makes is that this period is a time to look back and re discover passions, interests or activities that have fallen by the wayside.

I have both a professional and personal interest in this. I hear many of the doctors I coach share a deep need to discover or re-discover who else they are, in addition to being a medic (and this is the younger generation as well). Passions range from sports, writing books to painting pictures and many more. Of course, all of these outlets are incredibly important to give balance in our life and invest in our resilience, but I’m particularly curious about the ‘creative’ outlets.

Some research suggests that creativity plays an important role in our mental health, but what if we don’t see ourselves as ‘a creative type’ or ‘artsy’? And what is creativity anyway?

If ‘creativity is the use of imagination or original ideas to create something; inventiveness,’ then I’m guessing we’ve all been pretty creatively inventive with the fridge contents over the last few days. For me, creativity is about producing something new, through experimentation and risk, through failure and surprising successes. This improvisation and problem solving is not the sole proviso of the Arts and I believe is an important part of us all.

The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.” Carl Jung

So, I encourage doctors I coach to invest in this part of themselves as best they can, with kindness and sensitivity. Some people are clear what their outlet is and just need time / permission to do it, others need support in re-discovering what matters to them, or at least what made them feel both relaxed and excited all those years ago.

Becoming REIGN Copyright Alexis Hutson

 

For me it’s photography. My creative arts degree and passion for photography got left behind 20years ago, but in 2018 I reignited this part of me. It has not been easy, and I will continue to struggle with finding space and peace to explore it. But I know if I don’t try, I’ll regret it. I even had the chance to take photographs at the Leaders In Healthcare conference 2018 and will be possibly sharing some of those images called Looking@Leaders in 2019.

But in the meantime, here is a photograph I took this year that still interests me. And here is my Twitter feed address to track what I’m interested in. @AlexisHutson1

What did you leave behind and what do you need to pick back up?

 

 

‘Know thyself’ is as relevant now, as it was in ancient Greece.

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I recently ran a session for the Leicester Faculty of the RCGP for their First5 group. It was an evening session on a very cold and windy March night, but we had a full house. I used the MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) to give attendees insight into their personal preferences about how they naturally interact with the world, plan and organise their lives, make decisions and cope with change. Whilst we had a lot of fun, it was really interesting to see how individuals came to terms with some pretty intrinsic truths about themselves and how these might affect their transition from training programme to independent practice.

When I attended the session I did not really know what to expect- but afterward I feel like I have got to know myself so much better…In the busy world that is general practice and with the increasing pressure it was a breath of fresh air to be able to take a step back and assess my personality not only professionally but also personally. I feel that I have the tools to deal with future tensions better and also to be able to recognise when that is also not the case.” GP Attendee.
Knowing thyself and managing yourself are so important in the challenging and pressurised environments Doctors function in. Taking time to read your emotions and review the affect you have on others is vital for your development, as well as fundamental to your leadership and management effectiveness.
But it’s not easy. Doing things that come naturally or are habit can be straightforward to you. But doing things that you find difficult or are outside of your comfort zone are a different matter. And when you have to do something like this then your internal battle is tough. Knowing yourself and finding ways to out manoeuvre the urge to avoid things that you have to do, is a powerful self management tool.

Building Self Awareness

You can access a whole host of tools that can help you to build self awareness such as MBTI, Emotional Intelligence, Hogan etc and these are very useful. However I think it’s your inner voice and the relationship you have with yourself that is the greatest indicator of affective self awareness. I’m re-reading Dr Steve Peter’s (Psychiatrist) The Chimp Paradox at the moment. It’s really helping me train for the 10k I’m doing in July as my urge to not run is strong! But the book is supporting me to develop a more honest and realistic relationship with myself about running. See more about The Chimp Paradox HERE. We can be thankful that for most of us our brain is developable at any stage of our lives, so we can keep learning about ourselves.

If you would like to talk over Coaching to build self awareness call me on 0754 0593476 or email me at alexishutson@yahoo.com

NB, Dr Steve Peters is now working with the England football squad, so that should test the model…

Are women doctors as confident about their abilities as their male colleagues?

I was asked to run a session on Coaching & Mentoring at a conference yesterday. ‘Inspiring Women Doctors in Training’ had an emphasis on leadership and the keynote speakers all addressed why so many women doctors still don’t get to the top of the leadership ladder.

One theme that came out was individual’s ‘mind-set’. Whilst accepting that there will be many exceptions to the rule, all speakers spoke about an underlying lack of self-belief in many women doctors, an unwillingness to promote their achievements and a reluctance to seize opportunities.

So I wanted to share some research on Emotional Intelligence that was undertaken in 2011.

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is about intelligent use of our emotions. This requires being aware of our feelings and the feelings of others in order to manage our behaviour and relationships effectively. Underpinning all aspects of EI is our core attitude towards ourselves (Self-Regard) and others (Regard for Others).”Jo Maddocks, Occupational Psychologist with JCA.

JCA have been administering EI tests for over 12 years. They now hold data on over 12,500 people, across many professional sectors and covering 7 continents. What I found interesting about their findings is that there are a significant proportion of people in the healthcare sector who score low in Self Regard. In addition, women typically score low in Self Regard. This double-whammy means that women healthcare workers (including doctors) may be less likely to; rate their achievements, feel confident about putting themselves forward and feel empowered to do things differently.

Being a Doctor is a leadership role in its own right of course. Making decisions, taking action and leading others is a daily part of working life. But when thinking about the possibilities of further leadership in education, management, research, service development or commissioning, do women doctors believe “I could do that”? Or is there a saboteur in their heads saying, “I’m not good enough.”

To see the full JCA paper Click Here

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

 

Delivering the right kind of communication approach to different people or groups

One of the tools I often use with clients is the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). More info – Click Here.

It’s a really useful way to identify how individuals differ in the way they prefer to use their minds.

Do doctors communicate differently?

One area the indicator highlights is communication style. It shows whether people prefer to communicate in a systematic and factual way, or, in a way that explores opportunities and patterns. This was investigated in research published in Medical Education in 2004. The researchers argued that medics differed significantly from the general population and that intervention was needed early on in medical careers to support trainees in developing their ability to ‘flex’ towards the communication style of their patients.*

Well, the doctors I work with are well-established and highly competent communicators well used to communication adaption with patients. But what they are able to reflect upon when reviewing their MBTI results is how their communication preferences affect other parts of their professional life. That is, how they communicate with other team members, managers, commissioners and other clinical colleagues.

Crucial communication skills developed in the consultation room are transferable to other professional relationships, and the MBTI (and Emotional Intelligence) tools I use help doctors realise what they have got and how they can broaden their use.

Call 0754 0593476 or email me on alexishutson@yahoo.com to book your online MBTI test.

 

*An awful lot of work has gone into the communication development of medical trainees in recent years. For interest, the paper also shows the preferences of male and female doctors. Click Here to visit link.