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

 

 

 

 

 

FMLM launch the ‘Essential skills’ courses – a new series of personal and career development courses.

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I’m delighted to have been asked to run two more taster sessions for the FMLM.

Our sessions in June on Leadership & MBTI and Conflict Management were really successful so it’s great to run a couple more. See below for some of the feedback.

1. What makes you tick as a leader? Understand your values and beliefs.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015, 09:30 – Imperial College London. Click Here to book on the course.
In this workshop we will help you to understand your core values, how these relate to leadership and how they are demonstrated in the healthcare setting. This is an important part of developing your professional practise.

2. Boost your mentoring skills.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015, 13:30 – Imperial College London. Click here to book on the course.

Doctors at all stages in their career are increasingly being asked to deploy mentoring skills, whether formally or informally. You may have received training for this, or just picked it up along the way. However experienced you are at mentoring, it is critical to stay fresh and keep developing your skills.

Both courses carry 3 CPD points.

Feedback from previous attendees on the MBTI and Managing Conflict courses:

“It is important to understand myself before I can hope to understand and inspire others. This course gave me a bit better understanding of some elements of ‘self’ and left me wanting to understand more.”

“Really helpful to do questionnaire and immediately receive your own feedback about your indiivdiual style. Helped by the entertaining experimental games to understand the styles.”

“As a junior doctor about to begin my training in Anaesthetics it is important to know at this stage what my leadership style is and how I can improve it further to enable me to be a good leader as I increase in seniority.”

“The course allowed us to explore real scenarios and gave options to create real solutions. An all inclusive course where everyones contribution was valued.”

“Thank you for the excellent teaching and useful workshop.”

 

If you are interested in finding out more about these courses, call me on 0754 0593476 or email me at alexishutson@yahoo.com

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When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier. Roy E. Disney

Screen Shot 2014-05-28 at 08.08.09I’ve been writing these blogs for two years now. Looking back over the subjects I’ve covered, it strikes me that I’ve never written about personal values. Time to put this right. It is important because if you can identify what really matters to you, and how you want to lead your life, then it makes the choices and uncertainty that you will inevitably face, easier. Most of us assume we know roughly what our values are, but rarely do we actually think it through and identify why those values are vital for us.

When I do this with Doctors I use multiple values that are written onto cards and ask the them to gradually edit down to around five cards. The process of doing this means that the person is reflecting and internally discussing what those words mean for them and why they are important. Of course we will all have different interpretations of these words. One person’s ‘Happiness’ could be another person’s ‘Health’. But what matters is that that person knows what it means for them.

It can sometimes be quite an emotional experience for people because if identified correctly, these words hold great personal power. Like a compass, they help guide and ground you at times of uncertainty, but they can also help you overcome anxieties or fears that are unhelpful. For example, I’m scared of flying, but one of my core values is ‘Courage’. It is this value that gets me on the plane because it is more important to me to live by this, than to succumb to my fear.

Values influence every aspect of our lives: our moral judgments, our responses to others, our commitments to personal and organizational goals. Values set the parameters for the hundreds of decisions we make every day. Jim Kouzes & Barry Posner

Sometimes this process highlights for people that they are not living by some of their core values, or that some values contradict each other. This insight into our personal drivers can help us identify why we are unhappy or uncomfortable with decisions or situations. It’s worth thinking about.

Tips for identifying your values:

  • 1. Find as many value words as you can and write them down individually on post it notes or scraps of paper.
  • 2. Gradually edit them down so you are left with 5-6.
  • 3. Talk them through with a friend who can test and challenge what those words mean to you.
  • 4. Test them out when faced with a decision and see how the values play a role in your processing.

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

 

 

 

Fully recharged? Or are you running on empty already?

Time is a finite resource. It’s an issue that almost always comes into sessions with my clients. None of us feel like we have enough of it and at the beginning of a New Year, we feel the passage of time more keenly. How we spend this valuable resource and how effective and efficient we are at it, is a common concern.

One-way of repositioning our relationship with time is to think about how energized we are when we are spending time. We cannot change how much time we have, but we can control how much energy we have.

…greater capacity makes it possible to get more done in less time at a higher level of engagement and with more sustainability.” Tony Schwartz.

Schwartz at The Energy Project describes a model of four energy dimensions that should be invested in:

  • Physical Energy – sleep, exercise, diet and taking breaks.
  • Emotional Energy – defuse negative emotions, fuel positive emotions, and review upsetting situations.
  • Mental Energy – reduce interruptions to important thinking tasks, stay goal focussed and switch jobs at healthy intervals.
  • Spiritual Energy – identify those task that give you more energy, allocate more time to those tasks that are really important to you and live by your core values.

For some of my Doctors they are aware of Physical Energy but less aware of their need to invest in Emotional Energy. It’s useful to reflect upon how you invest in these four areas as you may discover that only a couple of your ‘batteries’ are fully charged.

OK, so this is not going to ‘buy’ you more time, but it might help you feel more satisfied with how you spend the time you do have and give you some ideas about where you need to invest in yourself at this moment in time.

Links:

Click here to access Tony Schwartz’s Harvard Business Review paper.

You can take an online test to check out your relationship to these four energy dimensions by clicking here.

Click here to see 5 Top Tips for managing your energy not your time.

Call me on 0754 0593476 to talk over your relationship with time.

Email me on alexishutson@yahoo.com