"Coaching is a partnership between the Coach and Client in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires the Client to maximize their personal and professional potential" (International Coaching Federation).
Mentors are experts with specific knowledge and skills in the chosen field and they impart experience to a mentee. There is a fundamental power imbalance and the assumption that the mentor has the answers.
Coaches by contrast are expert at helping the client to draw on their own knowledge, skills and experience to solve problems. The coaching relationship is a partnership where both parties have equal power and status.
Coaching is not counselling, and yet it is anchored in positive psychology. By focusing on strengths and opportunities clients can grow and transform to meet their full potential.
Coaching is widely used in the business world, but under-utilised, under-resourced and under-appreciated in medicine. Evidence is beginning to emerge that coaching may be helpful for doctors.
Coaching is a powerful tool that lies on the intersection of medical education and doctor wellbeing. It is increasingly a valuable component of medical education programs worldwide.
“Coaching is the art of facilitating another person’s learning, development, well-being and performance. Coaching raises self-awareness and identifies choices. Through coaching, people are able to find their own solutions, develop their own skills, and change their attitudes and behaviours" Jenny Rogers, 2016.
Whilst I do offer On Demand (ad hoc) coaching sessions, I believe that I can best serve doctors through a program of coaching. My programs are carefully considered and utilise powerful diagnostic tools and a 5 phase approach to provide a comprehensive coaching service.
I am the only Master Certified Physician Development Coach in Australia. This training through the Physician Coaching Institute in the USA is a rigorous 6 month program with a small cohort of 14 like minded colleagues, facilitated by expert physician coach Dr Francine Gaillour. I have the back up of a brains trust network and ongoing mentoring to ensure I am up to date with the latest advances in physician coaching.
The most well known coaching model is the GROW framework popularised by Sir John Whitmore. GROW stands for Goal, Reality, Options, What will you do?
SMART goals are goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. The GROW framework and SMART goals are widely used in the managerial world and by supervisors in medical education.
Coaching is actually a non linear, iterative process that doesn't fit neatly into a nice acronym. And there are as many ways to coach as there are ways to give an anaesthetic. Yet they all have one thing in common - an authentic, co-created, client-led conversation.
Coaching provides unhurried and expansive space to reflect. As your coach I will listen deeply, probe intuitively with powerful questions, paraphrase and summarise to check back with you. This process helps you to clarify and crystallise your thoughts. I will be mindful to stay in my coaching lane and be led by you.
By first admiring and disentangling the issues you will ultimately be able to set goals that are more likely to succeed and are more satisfying. This is because they are concordant with your values, speak to your heart and are within your sphere of influence.
At the beginning of your session I will always ask you "What is the most important thing we should be talking about today?". We'll work together to find out a bit more background about this, in particular what you want to take away from the session, what this topic means to you and how we will measure success from our session.
We'll dig down into the issue. What has worked before? What have you already tried? We'll talk through your options, spotlighting them from different angles and painting a picture of your best possible future. We'll reframe self limiting beliefs. If it seems right (and not every session has to end with a goal) we'll work on honing your goal, so that you can summarise in one sentence "My goal is to...."
Finally we'll break your goal into bite-sized chunks and help you make a to-do list that is actually achievable by picking off the low hanging fruit. We'll summarise the session together. If you want to, we'll talk through how we can stay in touch to keep you on track.
What went well? What could be improved? What will you do next time? At each session we'll review how you went.
I will always give you the benefit of the doubt because I know that you want to do your best for your patients and yourself. I believe in you.
We are equal partners. I am a facilitator and you are the expert, so I will not tell you what to do. I expect that you take personal responsibility for your goals and are accountable to yourself.
I will ask tricky questions, listen hard, summarise or paraphrase your answers and sometimes I may provide feedback with good judgement. I will very rarely provide advice and I will always check if you want it first. I will be direct and I may interrupt you.
I will challenge you to think hard and to come up with your own answers. I will encourage you to frame this from an optimistic, positive viewpoint. I am not liable for the actions, decisions, choices or results that arise from our coaching relationship.
I will not provide medical advice. I am a coach. I am not a substitute for your GP, psychologist, psychiatrist, legal advisor, mentor, supervisor or any other professional.
I am a member of the International Coaching Federation (ICF). I am bound by the confidentiality rules of the ICF and I will keep your information confidential (unless there is a risk of harm to you or others or a legal requirement to disclose information).
I will be authentic and honest with you. I will maintain the ethics and standards of behaviour established by the ICF.
Copyright © 2021 Sancha Robinson. Coach. For Doctors. ABN 17483205439 - All Rights Reserved.
Images of lighthouses from Shutterstock. Graphics by Alice at Imprint, Newcastle.
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