Coaching for clinicians

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Following qualification, the science of veterinary medicine becomes increasingly easy with experience and familiarity. It is the ‘art’ and the challenges of managing complex clinical scenarios and the associated human relationships which are endlessly messy, unique, ambiguous and plain hard. You cannot simply ‘diagnose’, ‘prescribe’ or ‘cut’ to affect a resolution. Key to this aspect of professional work are self-awareness, emotional intelligence, communication skills and comfort with ‘imperfect’ solutions. This presentation explores the concept of developing a coaching approach to co-creating solutions to complex problems with colleagues, customers and other connections. It defines coaching, distinguishes between coaching and mentoring and emphasises the importance of using data from the head, heart and gut. It explores some of the key skills of effective coaching such as active listening, holding silence, open questioning and curiosity. It describes a practical framework for coaching conversations (the ‘GROW’ model) and gives a guide to parameters to consider when looking to engage a professional coach as a support to further learning and development. The importance of issues of competence, professionalism, ethics and boundaries are emphasised.

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