Category Archives: Coaching Doctors

Doctor, remember to look after yourself too

Every time you are busy seeing patients in your clinic or surgery you have to recall a wealth of information about them, their condition and about what you can do to help to diagnose and treat their illness. You may have developed your own way to do this so that you follow a routine.

For example after finding out their presenting symptoms asking them in a routine way about each of their body systems in turn so that you get an all over picture of what might be the cause of their illness and what you need to do next to find out more about it.
Yes, as a busy doctor you may be concentrating most of the time on your patients and forgetting to do what you must also do for your personal health and well being.

So you could devise a similar strategy for yourself as you use for your patients. Could you think of a mnemonic to remind you what needs to be checked each day or each week? For example if you said SCREEL to yourself every day and knew this stood for: Spirituality, Community, Relaxation, Exercise, Eating, and Learning would you remember these various aspects of self care which are important to maintain your health and well being as a doctor and as a human.

Spirituality: Connecting with nature, smelling the roses, watching an insect, saying a prayer, meditating, breathing, or whatever you do to connect with something beyond yourself.

Community: it is said that no man is an island, so make sure you connect with others away from work and with those who share your interests.

Relaxation: practice letting go of tension for a few minutes each day.

Exercise: your body needs to move and stretch, your heart needs to beat faster and your limbs need to transport you, so walking, running, doing yoga, dancing or moving in whatever way you can to keep your body working efficiently.

Eating: More fruit and vegetables, olive oil, nuts and protein, less junk, sugar, salt and e-numbers. Eat healthily and become healthier.

Learning: something new each day. Looking up words, reading books, thinking, discovering, learning and keeping your brain functioning well.

If you can think of a more relevant mnemonic for you do so and say it to yourself every day to remind yourself to spend just a few minutes addressing the various parts of your life in this way and as a result your self care will improve enormously.

Coaching enables you to be a doctor and have a life.

Does Coaching Work For Doctors?

Does coaching work for doctors?Coaching can enable doctors to  find their own way forward to a more balanced and happier life. This is what coaching can do for you if you are a doctor who is wondering about coaching and feeling hesitant about hiring a coach because you don’t really understand how a coach might be useful:

A coach can:

  • Motivate you to move forward and do what you want to do by encouraging you to take the first step and then some more, especially for those things you have been procrastinating about for some time.
  • Listen to your concerns about possible courses of action  and then by asking you challenging questions make you think afresh about what’s happening in your life and make the decision that’s best for you at this time.
  • Challenge your beliefs about the way things are and the ways they could be, by helping you question long-held ideas which no longer serve you.
  • Be on your side, supporting you in whatever course of action you decide to take  without an agenda of their own. For example,  colleagues might be shocked to hear you say you might leave the medical profession, or would like to spend more time with your friends and family, whereas the coach will help you  consider alternatives you might not have thought about before and then motivate you to do what you need to do.
  • Be in contact with you on a regular basis either on the telephone, email or Skype thus avoiding lengthy journeys for face to face meetings.
  • Enable you to clarify your goals so that you can make decisions and take action  in relation to challenges old or new, so that you make a difference to your life.
  • Teach you skills you can use if you are faced with similar challenges in the future. For instance you could  learn ways to communicate more effectively and  use what you learn when faced with a similar situation in the future.

Thus coaching can be useful for doctors like you. But only you can take that first step of making contact, discussing what you hope to achieve and then making a commitment to the process.

When you take that first step, which means you may feel you are stepping out of your comfort zone. However  when you do this you are embarking on your personal journey and  you will quickly find your very own prescription  for change.

Find out more about Coaching here.

Gifts to give yourself

For the independent medical practitioner who appears to ‘have it all’ but knows that there is something missing here are some gifts to give yourself:  rewards for your dedication and hard work, for the personal sacrifices you’ve made while building your Private Practice to be successful.
Resolve that  you will not only be even more successful, (whatever your personal definition of success may be) and have a fulfilling and happy life too. Give yourself these precious gifts.

Time for living
Too much to do, too many demand made of you. Can you get away on time to see your private patients when your NHS demands are so overwhelming? You  some days feel as though you can never get it all done and arrive somewhat tired before you even start to see your patients at the private hospital. You keep them waiting on occasions and know this is not ideal but somehow can’t do things differently.
What can you do differently?

  1. Notice how you actually spend your days
  2. Become more aware of how you waste time
  3. Decide what you can teach others and then delegate to them more
  4. Design more efficient systems  for everything you do
  5. Say no more often to what you don’t want to do any more.

Health and well-being:
You advise your patients about their habits, remind them to stop smoking, drink alcohol in moderation and lose weight but perhaps forget these in relation to your own life.

  1. Give yourself the gift of improved self-care:
  2. Be more aware of what  you  eat and make healthier choices.
  3. Keep positive and  lead a healthy lifestyle in spite of the pressures of Medicine.
  4. Resolve to eliminate most processed foods and instead eat more fruits and vegetables.
  5. Be aware of the power of your mind rather to change your perception of the world.
  6. Walk more
  7. Keep your body and mind flexible with exercise and life long learning.

Balance between work and the rest of your life:

Private Practice, especially if you work for the NHS too, can take over much of your personal time. Perhaps you tend to  say  yes to whatever your patients demand of you in respect of when they can have their consultation whether face to face or on the telephone.  Instead you could:

  1. Clearly define your availability when you are available for appointments and when patients can telephone you.
  2. At other times have someone else or your telephone take messages
  3. Acknowledge that your out of work commitments are important

Your comments below please.

Coaching can enable you to achieve these and more. Contact me!

Are these the biggest 12 challenges for doctors today?

doctor with headache

  1. Goal setting: Setting goals: Vital to set SMART goals so you can be very clear about what you want.
  2. Work life Balance: Balancing work and life – there is more to life than work.
  3. Managing time – essential for making space for a new life to happen.
  4. Self care: Deciding what you have forgotten to do lately and make a commitment to improve your self care
  5. Environment and behaviour: Noticing how small changes in your environment and or your behaviour result big positive effect
  6. Capability: you may be needing to learn some new skills and or   teaching some skills to people around you.
  7. Beliefs and Values: recognising that some beliefs are powerful enough to stop your change, yet beliefs can be changed.
  8. Identity: You are not your job or profession. Noticing how your ideas about who you are, may be stopping you doing what you want.
  9. Purpose:  Discovering why you are here and by doing this being motivated to achieve your purpose.
  10. Communication skills: Being  able to communicate what you want to do when it affects others and learning how to do this more effectively
  11. Stress management:  Learning techniques to reduce or get rid of stress.
  12. Creativity: getting in touch with your creative side which may have been dormant if your job has encouraged you to follow rigid procedures.

Comments  and additions ….please add yours.

Group support for doctors?

Many people find joining a group for support through change is beneficial. Would a group for doctors who want your lives to be much, much better also work?

It might be useful for doctors who:

  • have read about personal development
  • haven’t made the changes they want yet

Doctors might resist joining a group because they:

  • never have enough time
  • have not been fitting in much apart from work into their day.
  • find that their family complains they are never at home
  • can’t remember when they last had a walk, went to the theatre or saw a film…….

Being part of a supportive group is for you if you want to:

  • Make changes in your life
  • Have more time
  • Stop feeling stressed
  • Become fitter
  • Be happier
  • Recognise you have choices
  • Enjoy the synergy and support of a group.

Joining a group can be an opportunity for support, encouragement and motivation. You may be able to meet each other face to face but it can work well if you meet on the telephone or on the internet. Any way that you can share ideas in a supportive environment can be very useful.

But how many doctors would be willing to do this? Is there a built-in resistance amongst doctors about admitting vulnerability and not being able to cope with something or needing to discuss future plans in a non-judgmental environment?

Being part of a group is commonplace for doctors especially when discussing clinical decisions. Could it become more often used too as a way to talk about personal development and also emotional issues in relation to dealing with patients? Not the diagnosis and treatment but more about how they deal with the emotional impact of dealing with patients.

What do you think about group support for doctors?

Doctors need support as much as other people

What do you do if you feel that you can’t cope with a situation? Perhaps other people are making suggestions to help you but you don’t listen because you don’t like the idea of asking for help from someone else.

You may be someone who believes that you have to deal with everything on your own without any help from others. It’s true there seems to be a culture amongst doctors of the idea that they have to deal with whatever happens in the course of their work or personal life on their own and without any support form others.

If this applies to you ask yourself , why?  Is it because you believe it’s a sign of weakness  to admit you find it difficult to cope with the situation?

It can be difficult to admit that you don’t know all the answers, especially if you believe others will think less of you if you admit ignorance. Yet if you can get over this obstacle, which may be to a large extent in your own mind rather than having much basis in reality, you can then begin to experience how wonderful to have someone to talk to about what’s going  on for you.

It’s a remarkable process that happens when you allow yourself to talk openly and truthfully to another person about the stress or challenges you are experiencing. The actual telling is in itself very powerful and in so doing you become of all sorts of answers to your dilemma and may decide quite quickly what to do next. This is all without much interception form the other person except for the listening skills they’ve used and perhaps the occasional question they’ve asked of you. The latter will have made you think of exactly what your desired outcome for the situation is and

So, stop putting obstacles between you and other people and  don’t put up barriers to communication either, nor  hold back from jumping to conclusions.

You may have people such as colleagues or friends or family who would be willing to listen to your dilemmas and guide you towards finding a solution for yourself. A coach will have been trained to do this effectively. One of the most important attributes a a good coach is starting on time, listening intently, asking pertinent questions and helping you explore some options you hadn’t thought of before.

Then you can take the leap you know you must take and make good choices for your life change.