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?

 

 

Increasingly, doctors are being explicitly tasked with providing both coaching and mentoring within their professional practice.

Not everyone has the opportunity to attend training and explore their skills thoroughly. However, friend and colleague Dr Jane Povey writes about embarking on a professional coach-mentoring qualification here.

 

As a Mum, and in my various professional roles as a GP, medical manager, non-executive director and social entrepreneur, I try to use coaching techniques.

However, working with a range of expert coaches and people developers over recent years has given me the appetite to better equip myself in coaching so I signed up for The Oxford Coach Mentoring school (OCM) Diploma in professional coaching and mentoring.

I was fairly organised as I got underway with the programme in the New Year, booking workshops and finding my three ‘guinea-pig’ coachees. Then I completely lost my confidence and didn’t know where to start. I wasn’t sure how to function as a ‘proper coach’.

Fortunately, my first session with my coach-mentor-supervisor was next on my to-do list and, although I wondered how she would be able to help me convert my fearfulness into a sense of readiness for my first coaching session in an hour over Skype, she did it.

With her poignant, simple questions she enabled me to realise that, through pulling on my range of experiences (professional and other), and being myself, I was good enough to give it a go.

I was particularly concerned about how to do the contracting, including how to establish our boundaries, moving from the clinical and managerial relationships I am used to, towards a coaching relationship with my clients. The way I am explaining this to my coachees is that I come to them bringing my full range of experience, but not acting as a doctor or manager, recognising if there is need to signpost elsewhere. I drafted a coaching agreement and discussing this proved to be a really straight forward way to build rapport and ease us into our initial coaching discussion.

It was liberating! Having the time and headspace to listen, observe and offer a few probing questions to enable their thinking, was so refreshing compared to having to fix a clinical problem or deliver a management task. It was wonderful to be able to almost see the cogs turning as their thoughts unfolded.

Now I am lapping up the mix of coaching, workshops, reading, drafting reflective notes, enjoying hugely valuable feedback on my reflective practice from my tutor and therefore re-drafting the reflective notes.

I have always thought myself to be reflective, but I am now discovering how to take time to reflect more deeply. Examples being exploring in more detail when something interesting arises, and reflecting on how I am evolving my coaching style and approach based on what happens during coaching sessions. I’m also meeting a variety of fascinating and inspiring experienced coaches and coaches in training.

I now see my coaching journey in the form of a tree, my personal values as the roots and my range of experience to date as the trunk with some branches where I have been using coaching informally. What I am now doing is growing further branches as I better understand coaching and mentoring and developing a vibrant range of fruits as I collect, practise and employ coaching and mentoring theories, methods, tools and tactics.

This brings to mind one of my favourite definitions of leadership.

So, the point is not to become a leader. The point is to become yourself, to use yourself completely — all your skills, gifts, and energies … you must … become the person you started out to be, and … enjoy the process of becoming.” Warren Bennis

I reckon this is a pretty good definition of becoming a ‘proper’ coach.

Dr Jane Povey

  • Deputy Medical Director and Founding Senior Fellow – Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management
  • Founding Director – Creative Inspiration Shropshire CIC
  • Non-Executive Director – The Gold Standards Framework Centre
  • Advisory Board Member  – University Centre Shrewsbury, University of Chester
  • Dr Jane Povey Ltd  – Coaching, Mentoring and Consultancy

 

 

 

 

 

Last year NHSE funded a pilot for the Faculty of Medical Leadership & Management to offer coaching to GPs who were considering leaving practice.

The evaluation report is a fantastic endorsement of the power of coaching and clearly illustrates the positive impact that these interventions can make on peoples’ lives.

As the report says GPs overwhelmingly endorsed their experience of coaching, with 89% saying that they would take up coaching again. 

The coaches working on the pilot were:

  • John Aspden, Executive Coach and Director, Cognitions
  • Katherine Foreman, Executive Coach and Managing Director, Topeka Healthcare
  • Alexis Hutson, Executive Coach, Coaching Doctors
  • Liz McCaw, Executive Coach and Consultant, Headspace for Business

And the feedback about all the coaches was incredibly positive.

Alexis is extremely personable and easy to talk to. She is a great listener and really good at getting at the nub of the issue. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting with her and felt able to speak candidly with her about my thoughts, feelings and anxieties and about sensitive and personal issues as well as work, the workplace and wider issues which impact on work and life and the balance between the two.

CLICK HERE to read full report.

For more information contact FMLM at primarycare@fmlm.ac.uk.

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.

Learn

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.

IMG_4712

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.

IMG_4711

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.