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.

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 

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. 

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.

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 18.33.54

International Women’s Day 8th March 2016

Really enjoyed supporting the HSJ Women Leaders Network event which gave the opportunity for over 100 women to think about their current or future Board Level roles within healthcare.

CLICK HERE to see You Tube clip and hear coaches talking about how they work with people.

See more about the HSJ network – CLICK HERE

 

3rd March 2016 2-7pm

Delighted to be working with the RCGP Vale of Trent team again.

I don’t know what magic you just weaved, but that session was brilliant. – Participant at recent RCGP Cambridge retirement workshop.

BOOK HERE

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If you would like to talk over your retirement plans, call me on 0754 0593476 or email me at 

alexishutson@yahoo.com

I am working with a number of doctors at the moment who are considering alternative careers or managing careers that don’t follow a traditional path.

 

Although the education and training pathway for medicine is narrow and long, people don’t necessarily want their whole career to be prescribed or predictable. Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 07.50.06And what I often find is that people who are considering doing things differently are very anxious about how this may be viewed or valued. The investment both financially and personally in becoming a doctor is significant, so to potentially challenge this position is hard. And of course there is a whole section of the workforce who are now considering leaving medicine altogether due to the unrelenting pressures and personal challenges they are being made to face.

In this blog I’ll address alternative careers (actually stepping away from medicine) and different career paths (doing things differently, but within medicine).

Alternative Careers

So what could you do? There are lists on the internet that give options and ideas for doctors; what their medical degree and experience might lead to. I’m not sure these are that helpful though. If you are lucky enough to spot the ideal career for you in a list, then great. But if you are uninspired by the choices, you can still feel rudderless and frustrated.

As well as the practical and financial considerations, I think that one of the most important reflections you must consider is what kind of life do you want to lead. Family, health and wellbeing, time to think and create, opportunities for volunteering – and many others. In addition, what kinds of skills do you enjoy using. Not necessarily healthcare delivery, but perhaps people development or writing? What do you really get engrossed in and energised by?

See the link below for the national conference in April on ‘Alternative Career Paths for Doctors’.

Different Career Paths

Just because someone hasn’t done it before, doesn’t mean it is not possible. Everyone’s medical career is different and comparing yourself to others can be very unhelpful. What is also frustrating is that it can appear unclear how people have developed their careers; its often invisible how people have created their working arrangements and interests. But medicine affords people the opportunity to be a part of a clear and defined role, but also the opportunity to specialise and diversify in many different directions. It can take time and exploration to work this out, so be patient. If there is one trait that I see most often with doctors, it is the desire to learn and keep developing so taking risks, keeping your options open and trying out new things is key to capitalising on opportunities.

Final thought..

The most important part of this process is to approach it from the right direction. That is, don’t consider stepping away from medicine, focus on what you want to step towards, and perhaps medicine might play a role in that. As some educationalists are now approaching young people differently with ‘don’t ask a student what they want to be when they grow up – ask them what problem they want to solve’, then perhaps we should apply the same to ourselves.

Useful Links and resources

There are more, but here is a selection for you to access:

It is said that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die. That is true, it’s called Life.” Terry Pratchett.

If you would like to talk over your development call me on 0754 0593476 or email me at 

alexishutson@yahoo.com

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Here’s my approach to New Year reflection and planning ahead.

Screen Shot 2014-01-06 at 10.20.571. Reflect on the past year

I tracked back and looked at my personal achievements (not business) in 2013. This was enlightening, as I’d forgotten most of it or dismissed some of it as irrelevant. It also allowed me to identify what I hadn’t done and think about why. Doing this made me feel powerful and put me in a good frame of mind for thinking about 2014. This was really important for me, as I’m very future focussed, which is OK as long as you learn from the past!

2. Think Strategically

Whatever your goals or resolutions are, it’s important to align them to who you are (your values) and where you want to be (your dreams). For example, if you want to have a better work life balance, ask yourself why this is important to you and what you will get out of it. It might be because you want to be a better role model for your children and that you want to avoid getting ill again. The intention and driver will be different for everyone, even if the goal is the same. Make sure you pin point why you want this goal and what your outcome will be.

3. Be Operational

It’s no good having a great goal like have a better work life balance if you don’t have a plan for how to get there and how you will measure it. Being operational means being incremental, so plan out what your steps are and what your success will be along the way. Think about how you will measure your improvement and what the milestones are. Consider sharing your goal with someone you trust so you can share your progress and get feedback. By involving others you boost your commitment to the goal.

4. Plan for Obstacles 

Life, other people and your feelings will get in the way but if you anticipate what these might be, you stand a better chance of avoiding them. Be realistic and honest about what these could be and plan for them. Staying focused on your main purpose for doing this will help you navigate the difficult times.

*

I don’t find it helps just making a giant list for the year ahead. It can make you feel tired and inadequate. That is why it’s important to think strategically and pick perhaps 3 main items. There may well be many actions under each item, but at least they are grouped together under one area and it is clear why you are working on this.

Feeling powerful and under control are really important for your well being, so deciding what you want to achieve in 2014 is a healthy start to the new year. Call or email me if you want to talk over your goals for 2014.

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