I 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 transformationalrather 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.
* 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you want to set up or boost an existing mentoring scheme?
Increasingly 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.
In 2014-2015 I supported the Royal College of Radiologists to develop a pilot mentoring scheme for new consultants. This was a very successful scheme and so the RCR are rolling this out in 2016 as a key part of their service.
What pilot participants said…
“I do have quite a few colleagues who haven’t been a part of the scheme, who I can’t compare directly with them and say ‘oh I’m so much better than they are’, but I probably have moved a lot further than they have.”
“…it’s not just collecting a membership fee, but the College wants to provide something for us apart from the training. That gave me more motivation to get involved with the College basically. So I think if not for this I’m not sure when I would have come into this building or seen the College or got involved with the College staff as such.”
“I think it really, really helps you to do a very good high quality appraisal, the sorts of things we’ve been learning, not just as a mentor but having this exchange, and relationship with my own mentee, I think it’s been fantastic.”
“I felt part of the College, of creating something and here, I suddenly felt like I was participating in a very important thing with the College, I definitely felt that.”
To view the poster presentation on the pilot at AMEE:
I 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?
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.
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.
Spotting 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
FMLM launch the ‘Essential skills’ courses – a new series of personal and career development courses.
I’m delighted to have been asked to run two more taster sessions for the FMLM.
Our sessions in June on Leadership & MBTI and Conflict Management were really successful so it’s great to run a couple more. See below for some of the feedback.
1. What makes you tick as a leader? Understand your values and beliefs.
Tuesday, 18 August 2015, 09:30 – Imperial College London. Click Here to book on the course.
In this workshop we will help you to understand your core values, how these relate to leadership and how they are demonstrated in the healthcare setting. This is an important part of developing your professional practise.
2. Boost your mentoring skills.
Tuesday, 18 August 2015, 13:30 – Imperial College London.Click hereto book on the course.
Doctors at all stages in their career are increasingly being asked to deploy mentoring skills, whether formally or informally. You may have received training for this, or just picked it up along the way. However experienced you are at mentoring, it is critical to stay fresh and keep developing your skills.
Both courses carry 3 CPD points.
Feedback from previous attendees on the MBTI and Managing Conflict courses:
“It is important to understand myself before I can hope to understand and inspire others. This course gave me a bit better understanding of some elements of ‘self’ and left me wanting to understand more.”
“Really helpful to do questionnaire and immediately receive your own feedback about your indiivdiual style. Helped by the entertaining experimental games to understand the styles.”
“As a junior doctor about to begin my training in Anaesthetics it is important to know at this stage what my leadership style is and how I can improve it further to enable me to be a good leader as I increase in seniority.”
“The course allowed us to explore real scenarios and gave options to create real solutions. An all inclusive course where everyones contribution was valued.”
“Thank you for the excellent teaching and useful workshop.”
If you are interested in finding out more about these courses, call me on 0754 0593476 or email me at email@example.com
Recently I had the pleasure of reading Julie Starr’s latest book and then interviewing her about it.
I reviewed The Mentoring Manual: Your Step Step-By-Step Guide to Being a Better Mentor for the book club of the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management.
You can access the Book Review HERE and the Interview HERE.
However experienced you are at mentoring, it is critical to stay fresh and keep developing your skills. This book helps you do that and makes sure that you stay focused on doing the basics brilliantly. It’s important to remember this as a clinician when you are really busy, and distracted by work pressures.
What book/s have influenced your mentoring approach as clinician? Reply below.