For those of you leading a Primary Care Network, a GP Practice or leading a project or service, I firmly believe that it is essential to intentionally and proactively surround yourself with an 'A-Team' to support you. It can often be a lonely place leading others. Especially when you may be experiencing resistance, negativity, and constant pulls on your time to be here there and everywhere.
Whether you choose a consultant, coach or mentor, all will be able to share their expertise, give you a listening ear and offer as much help as you need to keep you smiling, delivering and moving forward despite the challenges.
Where do you start, and how do you know who does what?
In the simplest of terms:
A consultant will tell you how to do it.
A mentor will show you how they did it.
A coach will help you think through what is best for your unique situation.
For my clients, I am a mixture of all 3.
Along with a consultant, a coach or mentor sharing their expertise and giving you a listening ear, their support will help you to:
Build your confidence
Access resources you never knew existed
Push you out your comfort zone
Create a strategy that you can actually implement
See things from a different perspective
Enhance your service, contract or project
Make difficult decisions
Choosing the right person
Ideally, your consultant, coach or mentor needs to be someone;
With the ability to interpret a lot of information quickly and identify the main areas to focus on.
Who you can be open and honest with.
Who is walking their own talk.
Who will give you honest feedback.
Who is a positive influence.
With resources and tools you can draw on.
Who will hold you accountable.
Who (like you) is seeking to better their performance which in turn will give you more insights, tools, resources and connections to draw on.
It may also be helpful to work with someone with an appreciation of the opportunities ahead of you, and the challenges you are going through that you feel are unique to your sector.
Each consultant, coach or mentor will have their own speciality. For example: at THC, our coaching services are for primary care clinical leads leading a service or a network. If this is you, more information can be found here.
Where do I find support?
You may be able to access this support via informal mentoring or you can pursue a formal business coach and pay for their expertise. I have done both and had fantastic experiences each time.
I am 99% certain you will already have established consultants, coaches, and mentors already in your network. You just have to reach out to them. The best referrals are also found through word of mouth recommendations so ask around.
Many coaches will offer a free strategy, discovery call or coaching session. Don't be put off by this. This is a way for you to try before you buy if you decide to go down the paid route.
How to get most from your consultant, mentor or coach
I think there are 3 golden rules:
Make the time. Be on time, remove distractions, be there and be present at each session
Prepare and give some thought to what you want to get from each session.
Do the work.
When it comes to making progress in your career, job, project, or service, coaching will help you work through your next move. From here… you will then need to make your next move. Similar issues may occur as the saying goes, there is a new devil at every level but as long as you are doing the work and not just talking about doing the work, you will start to see the progress you desire.
A consultant, coach or mentor who really gets you can be worth their weight in gold.
Tara Humphrey is the founder of THC Primary Care, a leading healthcare consultancy specialising in workforce transformation and the host of The Business of Healthcare Podcast.
Tara provides project and network management to Primary Care Networks and coaching support to clinical leads. Please visit our services page here.
Healthcare Project Strategy Calls: Tara offers a free 1 hour strategy call to help you get your project back on track. At the end of the call, you'll end up with 3 concrete actions to move you forward and help you progress. And if you are after longer-term coaching sessions we can work on a plan together. Find out more here or call or email us on 07944 616614 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tara has over 20 years of project management and business development experience across the private and public sector and has an MBA in Healthcare Leadership and Management, is published in the London Journal of Primary Care and is the author of over 180 blogs.