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?



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

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.

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Last month, myself and Louise Kiteley of Coaching Innovations ran a one-day interactive and practical session called Take Time Out – building resilience, managing change and working differently.

This well attended session saw GPs, Practice Managers and Senior Nurses come along to take stock of their skills, approaches and look at new ways of problem solving and dealing with the relentless pressures in primary care.
The following interview with Dr Chris Hewitt (Leicester, Leicestershire & Rutland Local Medical Committee) explores what we learnt, and observed, during the day. 

Q: What did we cover during the day that you think was particularly powerful for people?

Seeing GPs, Practice Managers and Practice Nurses having the headspace to think, to share experiences and ideas with colleagues with similar roles, challenges and environments, was enormously energising and uplifting. From the feedback it is clear that this experience was shared by course participants. I found it particularly powerful to gain more insight and to learn more about how my personal preferences around how I learn and communicate (and the preferences of those around me) influences how we all cope and look out for ourselves and each other.

Q: What do you think people particularly struggle with regarding ‘resilience’?

The i-resilience model was interesting – the need for a balance of confidence, social support, purposefulness and adaptability in order to endure and thrive, although on first inspection was clearly common sense, deeper review provided a clear framework for where as an individual we might be neglecting an area that could make us more vulnerable. Social support is particularly neglected. People put on a brave face or bottle things up, and we are wary of asking colleagues or networks for support to help deal with challenges and adverse situations.

Q: What is it about ‘change’ that can cause a lot of difficulty?

William Bridges transition model highlighted that the physical changes we overcome, do require a catching up of psychological buy in, with acceptance and change to pre-existing familiarity and habits which is required to go through the ’neutral zone’ of transition.  What was particularly interesting is that accepting and adapting to change – new premises or patient access systems – then requires people to ‘transition’ in their behaviours, working patterns and psychological acceptance, all of which occurs at different rates in different individuals.

The session was financially supported by the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Local Medical Committee and the Central Nottinghamshire Clinical Service.

Attendees said:
  • “Enjoyable, constructive.  Having the headspace and tools to think laterally around work issues, impactful.”
  • “Opportunity to work with different folk/groups, really helpful.”
  • “Great course – well-presented and facilitated.”

If you are interested in attending or hosting a course like this, call me on 0754 0593476 or email me at

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Building resilience, managing change and working differently.

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 15.48.24This is a one-day interactive and practical session that is being supported by the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Local Medical Committee and the Central Notts Clinical Service.

Session on: 23rd April 2015 – 9.30 to 4.30pm

Aimed at: GPs with a leadership role, Practice Managers and Senior Nurses

During the day you will consider:

  • How you can improve and manage the impact of change and work pressures on you and others.
  • How language supports the motivation of yourself and others.
  • A current workplace issue and how to deal with it effectively.
  • Take away ideas to keep you going

Venue: St Johns Community Centre, Packhorse Drive, Enderby, Leicestershire, LE19 2RP

Facilitators: Louise Kiteley of Coaching Innovations and Alexis Hutson of Coaching Doctors.

To Book: Contact Susan Shaw at LLR LMC – and 0116 243 0933.

Download the flyer Resilience day flyer FINAL

How can Doctors develop their resilience and bounce back from adversity?

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Resilience is not something that you either have or have not. It depends on the circumstances and how you handle yourself when faced with different difficulties. Knowing what kinds of things stress you and what core assumptions you have about yourself, can help you access your strengths quicker and work on your weaknesses more deliberately. For example, you might be comfortable handling negative comments from a colleague, but find it really difficult coping with rejection for a post.

Knowing this and recognising the power you have to change how you handle things, is critical to developing your resilience.

A useful tool I often use with clients is the FREE i-resilence model that helps people understand what are the key features of resilience and where their strengths and weaknesses lie within the model. The four key components of resilience in this model are:

Confidence – An important element of feeling confident is the frequency of positive and negative emotions that you experience. As I’ve written before on this blog, managing your emotions and taking time to notice and cultivate the positive can have a very beneficial impact and give you a greater sense of control.

Social Support – Constantly coping on your own is not healthy. We all need help and cultivating strong bonds at work and at home is important. Nurturing your relationships and investing time in others will help you and allow you gain perspective on situations.

Adaptability – Accepting the fact that lots of things are out of our control (especially in the NHS) is part of our adaptability. Moving on and recovering from unexpected outcomes can mean you don’t stay angry or frustrated with situations for too long.

Purposefulness – Knowing what you are here for and what gets you out of bed in the morning. A big part of this is your personal values so assessing and identifying what your core values are will help you drive your behaviour and performance more deliberately.

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Why not access this tool for free and reflect on how resilient you are and what you want to get better at? I’d be happy to talk over your results with you. Contact me on 0754 0593476 or email me on

Lack of resilience predisposes you to burnout, it increases your predisposition toward stress, which causes you to go into a deeper hole. You feel like what you are doing is not worthwhile, and you have a sense of disengagement toward your work.” Amit Sood, M.D.

I often have Doctors say “It’s nice to talk about myself”. I see that as a healthy and productive use of time.

What can be really difficult about this though, is not the desire, but making the time.

Making time for coaching can seem like a huge and daunting commitment. It can also feel self- indulgent and a bit of a luxury which can be challenging for people that have been trained and educated to put others first.

What I see happening when working with Doctors is the realisation that by investing in yourself, you can reinvest back into the healthcare environment. Rather than being a victim of the system, swept along by the current and overwhelming volume of work, people can become more a-tunned to how they can cope with improved resilience and a greater sense of control.

The quote below struck me when I read it recently. All the Doctors I coach have goals and aspirations associated with the non-clinical parts of their work. They typically want to focus on task/time management, leading a new project, developing their skills with colleagues/group dynamics and improving their personal performance. Talking with friends, colleagues and family members can help. But only with a skilled coach can you really focus your thinking, outcomes and plan a course of action.

Studies comparing superb leaders with mediocre ones have found that the competences that distinguish the best from the worst in human services have little or nothing to do with medical knowledge or technical skill, and everything to do with social and emotional intelligence. Of course medical knowledge matters for health care leaders – but it’s a given, a threshold competence that every health professional must have. What distinguishes leaders in medicine gets far beyond that knowledge, into interpersonal skills like empathy, conflict resolution and people development.”

Daniel Goleman – Social Intelligence, 2007.

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