Why Invest in Leadership Coaching for Senior Clinicians?

Why Invest in Leadership Coaching for Senior Clinicians?

Far from being a remedial intervention, leadership coaching is now a proactive and progressive part of leadership development that is used in almost all industry sectors to support leaders facing unprecedented challenges. This is especially true in healthcare, where leaders are under constant pressure and leading in high stakes environments. We recently spoke to one of our leadership coaches, Alison Freer, about the protected time and head space that coaching creates.

Q. Why are more Trusts or Senior Leaders commissioning Miad for a coach to work with them or their senior clinicians and healthcare leaders?

Alison: It’s good to see more Trusts commissioning coaching. I think there’s a recognition that coaching is a force for good and that it helps people realise their full potential in a positive and healthy way. I also think that senior clinicians are recognising that they need additional personalised support with their leadership roles; support that goes beyond what you might get in a traditional leadership development programme. Coaching gives that protected time and headspace for people to reflect and consider what steps they can take to effect change in the system around them.

Q. How is coaching different to mentoring?

Alison: Although we often use similar skills, tools and techniques, coaching happens in a clearly contracted and confidential way. The skill of the coach is to give somebody the opportunity to reflect and focus on what’s important to them in their personalised context. It’s an opportunity to have some space to think things through, perhaps to be constructively challenged, to think of different perspectives or options they hadn’t previously considered.

Mentoring, on the other hand, is delivered by somebody who’s in that same professional field, somebody who possibly is further ahead in a similar or related career path. As leadership coaches, we’re trained to work with people in different settings, and in doing so, we bring the benefit of a wider perspective.

Q. What types of challenges can be addressed through coaching?

Alison: They vary from the immediate here and now, such as recommending improvements or leading change in their department or team, through to longer term challenges, which are sometimes existential. For example, once people have reached this senior point in their career, what next? What is their purpose? And how can they look after themselves in the midst of all they’re working on?

Q. How do you set goals and define what people want to get out of a coaching relationship?

Alison: It’s quite hard to describe what coaching is, it’s much more experiential. Under certain circumstances we are able to offer those considering coaching or considering commissioning it, an introductory taster session. During this session they’ll experience what it’s like to be asked some far-reaching questions and to have time to think and reflect, and also ultimately to test the chemistry between an individual person and the potential coach.

People often have a fuzzy idea of what they need – they may not know it’s coaching but they know they are not quite finding their way or not coping well with everything they feel they should be in command of as a leader. On the other hand, we get some people who are really clear about what they want. It might be about finding a way of leading a very clear change in service, or making significant changes in their practice. But wherever you’re coming from, after the taster session we draft some coaching goals and agree them.

Q. How should Trusts go about choosing a coach for one of their leaders?

Alison: Firstly, become more aware of what you should be looking for in terms good governance; there are professional coaching bodies that you’d expect coaches to be trained and certified by.  Secondly, be clear about where coaching sits within your organisation’s portfolio of leadership development programmes to ensure it’s a valuable addition to traditional leadership development.

I would also advise those commissioning coaching to encourage people to come forward; in the healthcare sector there’s a perception that perhaps, in the past, coaching was seen as a remedial intervention so people may be reticent to ask for coaching. Lastly, think about the credibility of the coach you’re considering and what relatable experiences the coach has. 

Q. Can you tell us a bit about your coaching experience as well as your work so far with Miad?

Alison: I’ve been part of the Miad team for a number of years. It’s a huge joy and privilege because we have the honour of working with remarkable doctors and clinicians who are doing incredible things on a daily basis – and being quite understated about the level of service they provide.

I’ve worked with many clients in the healthcare sector including doctors, consultants, GPs, nurses, and non-clinical leaders. I also work widely in other sectors including the corporate sector, higher education, as well as government and the civil service. So, many varied settings, all which challenge leaders who are working in high stakes environments.

Coaching for senior clinicians with Miad Healthcare

At Miad Healthcare, we are proud to work with hundreds of senior clinical leaders every month. We see and hear first-hand the determination and challenge required to make positive and sustainable change happen, at scale, in today’s complex health settings. We also know that individual leaders often need more time and space than beyond group training workshops.

To discover more about Miad’s team of experienced coaches, visit the Coaching for Senior Clinicians page on our website here.