As a coach I encourage those I work with to put their learning into action.

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But I know this is not easy and requires ongoing support and input to encourage actively learning from experiences – through the day job. I also know that when I’m facilitating courses and programmes to groups, people really value and enjoy engaging with and learning from fellow clinicians.

Thats why I helped design and am looking forward to delivering Action Learning Sets (ALS) for Doctors organised by the FMLM*.

The idea

You benefit from a learning programme designed with medical leadership development at its heart, with the advantage of professional facilitation by experienced coaches and the value of learning with a liked-minded group of doctors who you can build a network with.

The programme

With the Action Learning Set programme, not only will you learn and develop those essential leadership and management skills as needed by today’s clinicians but you will also develop an exciting new way of learning through Action Learning Set facilitation and learn just how you could use this approach on your own clinical and leadership journey.
The four sessions will cover:
  • Individual development and how to better understand yourself
  • Developing team working and managing change.
  • Organisational working, exploring you as an individual and as a team member in the overall context of the system.
  • Using the skills you have learnt from previous sets to self-facilitate and explore opportunities beyond the ALS programme.

The programme is for doctors who are either in or moving to a leadership and management role and will be delivered via four half-day sessions between September and December 2017, one set in London, one set in Birmingham.

Dates for the Birmingham set: Wednesday 20 September, Wedensday 18 October, Wednesday 15 November and Wednesday 13 December. This will be run by myself and colleague Liz McCaw.

Dates for the London set: Thursday 14 September, Thursday 12 October, Thursday 9 November and Thursday 7 December. This will be run by John Aspden and colleague Liz McCaw.

Cost: £750 for the whole programme (thats £187.50 for each half day!)

*Faculty of Medical Leadership & Management

Leadership is not a theoretical exercise, but a practical endeavour.”

Click HERE to register with the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management for a Action Learning Set.

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-11-24-54Understanding the DNA of Personality Type and Leadership Development for Doctors

I’ve just returned from the annual Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management (FMLM) Leaders in Heathcare 2016 conference. A key message from many of the speakers was that leadership development starts from within. Couldn’t agree more – but how do you do this if you haven’t the time or the resources to go on an expensive leadership development programme?

Senior Doctors told me at the conference that their leadership roles are often characterised by:

  • Not enough time to do it well
  • Imposter syndrome (feeling that you are promoted beyond your skill/capabilities)
  • Feeling isolated with insufficient support
  • Having to learn on the job (no or little training offered)
  • Expected to deliver far too quickly
  • Expected to deliver on things that are outside of your direct control
  • Lack of clarity over the role and scope of role much larger than anticipated

Through coaching doctors over the years I have found that enabling doctors to understand themselves (and the people around them) helps to manage some of these difficulties encountered in leadership roles. A great way of understanding behaviours, strengths and weaknesses is by using the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). It supports self awareness and strengthens leadership practice.

MBTI Step II takes self undestanding to a deeper level.  With step II you learn how your preferences for the Extrovert – Introvert, Sensing – iNtuition, Thinking – Feeling and Judging – Perceiving functions are affected by specific behavioural facets. Under each of the function pairs (e.g. E-I) sit ten facets of behaviours and Step II measures you against these. This allows people to see the subtly and complexity of what makes them tick and build a richer view of why they prefer different ways of doing things. This enables you to be more specific about how you want to develop.

You can read more about this when I wrote a blog for OPP (European administrators of MBTI) late last year HERE.

I’ve been using Step II for over a year now and have seen how the model can support people to review their approach to leadership and adapt their strengths to work more productively within the context they are operating in.

I’m delivering an open access course on the 6th December 2016 in London for FMLM. To find out how to book click HERE.

 

If you would like to talk over developing your leadership skills with MBTI Step II, 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.

Leadership development is personal.

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Historically we have assumed that Doctors were natural leaders and these non clinical skills were taken for granted. There is still very little leadership development embedded in medical education, although things are improving. So if you want to think strategically about your leadership skills what do you do? The following blog offers a way to reflect on your leadership growth.

My personal opinion based on working with many doctors over the years is that how you grow as a leader depends on who you are, what you have experienced and what your context for leadership is currently. That is why leadership programmes almost always use one to one coaching in their learning programme so that individuals can personalise and put the learning into practice.

Also, I believe leadership is about influence rather than control. You may be able to weld control over people if you are more senior, but its doesn’t mean you are leading them. People decide based on your behaviour as to whether they are willing to be led by you and consequently give you that extra effort.

So leadership is personal. It’s about you and your behaviour and you can lead from any position or situation. This is why leadership is relevant to you at any stage of your career, regardless of seniority and will continue to be a learning curve.

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However, there are so many leadership programmes and books out there, it is hard not to be phased by the size of the subject. But whilst theories about leadership abound, leadership is a practical endeavour.

A good place to start is to assess and reflect on what your current leadership challenge is and how you are doing.

 

Consider these questions.

  1. What do you want to achieve in leadership?
  2. Where are you now with this goal?
  3. What are your options?
  4. How committed are you to this plan and what are you going to do?

This may help you identify what kind of leadership development you need and how this relates directly to your circumstances. This development may come in the form of a book, course, buddying up with a colleague, mentorship or coaching, or taking on a new project/role.

But also ask yourself:

  1. What qualities and attributes do I possess that are important in leadership?
  2. What experiences have I had that are relevant?
  3. What is my current context and what opportunities do I have to have a positive influence?

This should help you consider your next move.

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If you would like to talk over your leadership development, call me on 0754 0593476 or email me at alexishutson@yahoo.com

Note: I would recommend you taking a look at the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management (FMLM) website for some excellent resources and courses.

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

Recently I had the pleasure of reading Julie Starr’s latest book and then interviewing her about it.

Screen Shot 2015-01-05 at 13.05.58I 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.

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Doctors are increasingly being asked to get involved in mentoring both formally and informally. But why do it?

I think Doctors like supporting other doctors. They like to pass on their experiences and help others to avoid mistakes and difficult situations they’ve encountered. The medical profession is a long career and there is a lot to learn, so the chance aid others is a powerful driver for most Doctors.

So what is it and why might Doctors be really good at it?

Mentoring is a distinct relationship where one person (the mentor) supports the learning, development and progress of another person (the mentee).” Julie Starr.*

Mentoring (and coaching) is different from training because it aims to ‘draw out’ learning rather than push in information. It aims at reflection and experimentation that leads to individual development, rather than at direct influence that leads to presupposed outputs.

Why could Doctors be good at it?

  1. Doctors are used to listening to people’s concerns and anxieties confidentially
  2. Doctors have a caring and empathic approach to other people
  3. Doctors are used to remaining objective and impartial
  4. Doctors are used to spotting patterns and making connections in problems

What can hinder Doctors being great mentors?

  1. Doctors are used to listening for clues that can help diagnosis – mentoring conversations require you to listen with an open mind and follow the mentee’s train of thought within a supportive structure
  2. Doctors are used to being in pressurised conversations where time is limited – mentoring needs to be free from rush and should give people time to think freely.
  3. Doctors are used to directing junior colleagues – mentoring is not about solving the other person’s problems, but rather enabling the mentee to explore their own solutions.

If you have access to a mentoring scheme through your College, Training Programme, Hospital or other organisation, get involved.

*Julie Starr has recently published The Mentoring Manual and references Gandalf/Bilbo, Dumbledore/Harry, Yoda/Luke and other famous great mentoring partnerships.

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

alexishutson@yahoo.com

 

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Why is leadership in a non-clinical setting often hard to establish and maintain?

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I’ve been running a few leadership sessions over the summer and it’s also a regular issue that comes up for individual coaching clients.

You may be a divisional director, leading a research team, be a senior partner, managing an educational programme or part of a national project.

Whatever the context, I hear the same difficulties regularly:

  • How can I engage others more effectively?
  • Why don’t people do what they say they will do?
  • How come everyone has a slightly different view of our goal?
  • Why isn’t this more straightforward?

Leading in a clinical setting can be less complicated. The lines of accountability are often clearer and as a Doctor, you are often the final decision-maker. But outside of this setting, it can get foggy.

So what can you do?

If we remember that leadership is a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal, then we are reminded that leadership itself is mostly about managing relationships. And in order to do this well, you have to manage yourself first.

So any decent leadership programme requires self-development and reflection on your personal preferences. This is important because a crucial part of leadership is managing the balance of Context v Personal Preference.

For example:

  • The context may be nebulous and ever-changing, but your preference is to get things decided and actioned quickly?
  • Your preference is to consider the impact in the long-term, but the context is to get value for money immediately?

Here are a few points to remember when you get bogged down in the nitty-gritty of messy leadership:

  • Remember that your personality preferences will affect the culture of the team – are these enablers or blockers to the context?
  • Remember that you can’t just focus on the task of the team – the individuals and whole group need leading too.
  • Remember that your clinical leadership skills are transferable – just make sure you reflect and review on how you use them.

 

If you would like to talk over your leadership responsibilities call me on 0754 0593476 or email me at alexishutson@yahoo.com

 

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Why are ineffectual teams so common?

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I hear clients talk about their poorly performing teams and the stress this causes frequently. People assume that as adults, teamwork should come naturally, especially in the health service where everyone has the same goal. However, finding a role in your team, contributing positively and leading democratically do not come easily. More typically, the group dynamics are poor, there is conflict around decision-making, low levels of trust or the leadership is weak. This affects everything and it’s really difficult to move the team to a better position.

It can be more straightforward in clinical teams where there is a hierarchy and focus that enable people to understand the shared purpose. However put Doctors into managerial teams, research teams, projects teams, educational teams, peers groups etc, then the dynamics can be very different, much harder to navigate and can be constantly shifting.

I think the reason that ineffectual teams are so common is because people assume teams can take care of themselves or it’s someone else’s responsibility. They can’t and it isn’t. It takes planning and action by all to make them work well.  Here are some tips to think about if you are considering starting a new team or reflecting on a poorly functioning team.

Starting a new team:

  1. Be clear about the purpose of the team and what its’ objectives are.
  2. Be clear about the roles that you expect people to play in the team.
  3. Be clear about your shared values for being a part of this team.
  4. Be clear about how you will work, meet and get things done.

Remember, managing peoples’ expectations is crucial to getting off on the right foot. This is all common sense, but don’t take it for granted. Make sure you don’t make assumptions about other peoples’ motivations or willingness to contribute. Remember that all groups typically will travel through Tuckman’s stages of:

Forming – Storming – Norming – Performing

Developing an existing team:

  1. Draw a map of the team to get a birds-eye view of all the members and their positions. What does this tell you?
  2. In order to build trust, practice empathising with other members and get to know them a bit better.
  3. Accept that conflict is a part of any team and develop a strategy to manage the conflict safely.
  4. Acknowledge that everyone has an equal role to play and should be heard.

Remember, poorly functioning teams are usually driven by negative behaviour and behaviour is driven by feelings. Observe what emotions appear to be present, and why. Consider your own feelings and perhaps talk to other members about theirs. If you are able to pinpoint what emotions are contaminating your team, you stand a better chance of identifying the problem and doing something about it.

It’s uncomfortable to face these challenges, especially if no one else seems to want to take it on. But if you really want to be part of a better team, then someone has to make a start.

Team building does not happen on away days, it happens every day at work.

 

You may find a recent article in ‘Advances in psychiatric treatment’ – Teamwork: the art of being a leader and team player useful.

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