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

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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


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I’m really enjoying watching the Olympics. It is inspiring to watch people reaching towards their goals and fulfilling their potential. Heartbreaking for them when they don’t, and fabulous to see the joy when they do. But what has really struck me over the last few days is how clear-cut it appears. You win, you lose. You get a medal, you don’t. I envy this with sporting performance. There is seemingly less grey area and it is obvious what you are aiming for so; all the hard work is directed at one point.

My clients are all Doctors and I think they know what this kind of hard work over many years feels like. They know what the step by step achievements mean, the sacrifices it takes and how it moves them that little bit closer to their goal of becoming a GP Partner or Consultant. It seems like an Olympic effort.

But after the Olympics are over, or you have got that Partner / Consultant post? What next, how do you take stock, redefine where next and what to do? How can you continue to develop your performance, judgement and practice for rest of your professional life and what do you aim for?

I believe coaching helps you identify, plan for and sustain your personal best.

There was a moment in sports when employing a coach was unimaginable—and then came a time when not doing so was unimaginable. We care about results in sports, and if we care half as much about results in schools and in hospitals we may reach the same conclusion.”

Atul Gwande (Endocrine Surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts)

For full article in the New Yorker Click Here