We know that face to face coaching is best, but busy lives and hectic schedules can mean it’s tricky making time to meet.

Distance coaching

What is distance coaching?

By Distance Coaching (sometimes known as e-coaching) we mean that it is performed by email, telephone, SKYPE or FaceTime. It can work for many people; if the arrangements are clearly set out between both parties. The groundwork to set it up is worth investing in and should be a collaborative approach by both people.

However, I think it is advisable to meet at least once in person so that you can establish rapport and get to know each other. This allows you to use the distance methods more effectively and with greater confidence.

So, whilst the distance communication methods can be incredibly convenient, there are disadvantages to this method:

  • Email – Cannot pick up on visual clues and inferences that might be useful.
  • SKYPE/FaceTime – Internet/connection issues can interfere with the call.
  • Telephone – Privacy of the call, no visual clues and interruptions can cause difficulties.

However, the benefits:

  • Email – Doesn’t need to be carried out in real time and can give both parties time to reflect. Useful for quick updates.
  • SKYPE/FaceTime – Free to use, no travel and has many of the benefits of face to face meetings.
  • Telephone – Has an ‘intimate’ quality to the conversation that many value and it is, with practice, possible to pick up on non-vernal clues.

What will work for you?

It is worth considering the geography and ease of travel between you and coach. Many people find the travel time to and from sessions useful for gathering their thoughts, but equally if the distance and time needed to attend is significant, it will be a barrier to meeting.

Think about your schedule and access to communication options. If you have an office that is private and with decent internet, then Skype/FaceTime maybe a great way to virtually meet.

Perhaps the nature of the coaching is more suited to phone calls due to time availability and the content for discussion. Email could work in this way also, especially if you are sharing practical information and updating on progress.

Who likes distance coaching?

  • People with limited time to travel and very tight schedules
  • People who have a very specific goal that is time bound (e.g. job interview)
  • People who prefer the intimacy/privacy of communicating from their home
  • People who like the efficiency and accessibility of a distance arrangement

Good Practice

You should apply good practice to these distance sessions – as you would for a face to face session.

That is:

  • Prepare for and think about what will be discussed.
  • Make sure the space you have is undisturbed and free of distractions.
  • Stay focussed and attentive to conversation.
  • Agree on actions to be taken forward.
  • Reflect on the learning gained.

Final thoughts

A lack of face to face contact can mean that it is difficult or takes longer to build rapport. This is a crucial part of managing the relationship between a coach and coachee, so make sure you do meet at least once, if possible.

Distractions and interruptions are harder to manage remotely, so will require you to be disciplined about your immediate environment – for the benefit of you both.

Once you have established the best method for both parties and you have agreed the practicalities of how it will work, it can be a brilliant way of coaching without the need to meet face to face.

The quality of your attention determines the quality of other people’s thinking.” 

Nancy Kline

I think his can be done at a distance.

If you would like to talk to me about coaching at a distance call me on 0754 0593476 or email me at alexis@alexishutson.com 

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.

How we get on with people at work really affects us. Seems obvious, but it is not easy, especially when everyone is under so much pressure.

Face to faceWhen working with teams or individuals the quality of our relationships; our ability to trust and manage healthy conflict all contribute to our sense of well-being and ultimately resilience. But obviously we all have a different approach to managing our relationships, based on our underlying needs and what we are prepared to show we want.

So, as part of my CPD for 2017 I decided to train in a diagnostic tool with OPP to learn more about our interpersonal behaviours – specifically how we orientate ourselves to those around us. This is why I chose the FIRO (Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation) instrument. It is grounded in solid research developed over 50years and gives practical insight with an objective report on what you might want and how you might express this to others.

Why is this useful in a busy healthcare environment?

Those of us who have worked in or continue to work in the healthcare sector know, without a doubt, that it is the people that really make the system what it is. And it is the quality of their relationships with each other that see them through times of great stress or brilliant innovation. So understanding how you orientate your self to others is a additional insight that is highly valuable.

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So how does FIRO work?

The model breaks down into three areas that Will Schutz described in1958  -originally devised to measure and predict the interaction between people for the purpose of assembling highly productive teams in the US Navy.

 

Schutz describes our interpersonal needs* as:

Involvement    Influence    Connection 

*FIRO Business version

Schutz says these interpersonal needs are as basic as our need for food, shelter and water.

The model scores you across these three areas, but crucially it breaks this down further into ‘Expressed Behaviours’ (what others see you displaying as your need) and ‘Wanted Behaviours’ (what you’d like to receive from others, but might be less visible).

Example: I got a score that is relatively high for Expressed Involvement but lower for Wanted Involvement. What this could mean is that I express visibly a need for involvement in group activities – that is what people are seeing, but my actual need for involvement is lower than this = potential mixed messages?

Aligning FIRO, MBTI and Leadership Development

Helpfully the FIRO model can be used alongside your existing MBTI learning because both MBTI and FIRO give you a perspective on your leadership behaviours that can be incredibility helpful in understanding how you interact with and affect those around you.

Both instruments tap into key aspects of personality and behavior in areas such as communication, problem solving, decision making, and interpersonal relations. The instruments are also distinct, each providing a view of your leadership personality through a different window. Together, they complement each other and provide rich information of use in your personal, ongoing leadership development program. OPP Leadership Report using MBTI and FIRO. 

FIRO for Individuals and Teams

As with MBTI Step I & II, you can use FIRO to build self awareness in individuals and then use this to enable greater understanding of difference and similarities within teams.

More group work

If you would like to talk to me about FIRO and your development needs as a individual or your team call me on 0754 0593476 or email me at alexis@alexishutson.com. 

I regularly run training sessions for mentors and mentees to help them make the most of this powerful developmental opportunity.

 

Last November I ran a webinar for the Academy of Medical Sciences and you can see the full session through this link – 1 hour webinar.

Link to You Tube of Webinar

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Other organisations I am currently working with to support mentoring schemes include:

  • Nottingham University Medical School
  • The Royal College of Radiologists
  • The Faculty of Medical Leadership & Management
  • African Mental Health Research Initiative – Kings College London
  • British Society of Immunology

And if you would like to watch a second webinar which goes into a bit more detail you can view it HERE

If you would like to talk to me about your mentoring scheme, call me on 0754 0593476 or email me at alexis@alexishutson.com. 

screen-shot-2016-12-19-at-12-51-39I 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 transformational rather 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.

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* 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 alexis@alexishutson.com. 

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. 

 

 

 

Do you want to set up or boost an existing mentoring scheme?

Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 15.14.10Increasingly 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.

To see more and book your place CLICK HERE

If that is what I can achieve in five minutes, imagine what I can do in an hour.”

Above quote – participant of my recent workshop ‘Leadership and being a role model: decision making and taking responsibility’ for the FMLM.

Screen Shot 2016-07-04 at 12.53.09If you have attended one of my workshops, you will be aware that I almost always use Nancy Kline‘s ‘Thinking Partnerships’ model in workshops. This technique gives people the opportunity to receive and give uninterrupted thinking time, a rarity.

These workshop moments (usually 5minutes) are welcomed, although the technique can take some getting used to. It is probably because our access to time to think is rapidly shrinking, partly because of the increased demands and expectations placed on us, but partly because technology has exposed us to being constantly connected so we don’t switch off, literally. I see this as a problem, not only for us in general, but in particular for our leadership practice.

The pace of work and pressures placed on people force us to do more, work harder and cram in extra hours. We actually don’t have time to think and whilst we can achieve a lot of activity, is it productive and sustainable? Only through stopping, reflecting and gaining perspective can we establish if we are being productive and supporting those around us. Reflection and gaining perspective are crucial to leadership practice – as one of my recent Doctors who completed a coaching programme with me highlighted. He is an incredibly busy man balancing his clinical commitments against his leadership priorities and a couple of his learning points were:

  1. Improved approach to prioritising what is important and what isn’t.
  2. Understanding that Leadership is often more about influencing others rather than telling them what to do.

He couldn’t have worked on these (and other areas) without time to think and his pre-coaching and post-coaching questionnaire highlighted his progress. Despite an incredibly turbulent year, he feels more resilient than a year ago because he has had time to think things through.

We need to get back into the habit of thinking well for ourselves.

A decent way to invest in your leadership practice would be to attend the Leaders in Healthcare conference 31.10.16 to 2.11.16 Liverpool.

I and other FMLM Coaches will be there and are running an exciting session on day one called ‘Coaching for leaders: A worthwhile investment?’ This will be highly interactive and you will have the chance to access learning through 8 executive coaches on a range of subjects.

I’ll be there on my table titled Time Management.

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If you would like time to think about your leadership development, 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.

Feedback on leadership and management skills is always valuable.

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One of the most powerful ways to assess your performance and development needs is to gain meaningful feedback from those with whom you work. This is particularly true for developing your leadership skills as these are often more complex to observe or measure, so gathering as much data as you can is important. And aligning this to decent leadership standards makes the process especially productive and relevant to medical leadership and management performance areas.

This can be useful when you are applying for a new job or role, planning your appraisal, CPD or considering a career change or transition.

I’ve started to recommend and use the recently launched FMLM 360 tool as this follows the FMLM Leadership Standards that have been specifically designed for medical leaders. These standards roughly fall into the three leadership areas of Self, Team Player/Leader and Organisational Responsibility and System Leadership. Also, the 360 tool allows you to register as – a team member, team leader, operational leader and strategic leader meaning that you can assess your leadership development at any stage in your medical career. Find out more about about FMLM 360 HERE (£72.00 including VAT).

The trick with feedback though is to turn the potential learning into action. I think reflection on the nature of the feedback, understanding the different perceptions, considering the themes that occur are important, but doing something about this is key. I often use the following questions when I receive feedback or when I’m supporting others to action plan on the back of 360 reports:

1. What is valuable to me and how can it make me more effective?

2. What are the benefits to me and those I work with?

3. What can I practically do to enact this learning?

4. Who can I share this with in order to help me or hold me to account?

Of course there may be feedback in the 360 report that you don’t agree with or may feel unfair. You may be right, but it is important to still reflect on the context, why someone may have viewed you or the situation in this way and what you can extract that is still of value to you.

If you would like to talk over your 360 report call me on 0754 0593476 or email me at alexishutson@yahoo.com. 

We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve. Bill Gates