Frequently Asked Questions about Coaching
Please find answers to a range of frequently asked questions below which may assist you with your understanding of coaching and deciding whether you wish to process in accessing the support of a coach.
What does a coach actually do?
Coaches work with coachees to help them become more effective. A coach will use challenging questions to raise the awareness of the coachee, help them develop new thinking about their situation, and enable positive change. A coach will do much more listening than talking, and will not problem-solve on your behalf, or give advice. Rather they will offer support and challenge and will work with you as you find your own solutions.
The British Medical Journal has written an article explaining how coaching can improve the performance of any doctor, which you may find insightful.
What is the difference between Coaching and Mentoring?
How is coaching different from counselling?
"Coaching is overtly goal-focused, moves at a faster pace with more future focus” (Rogers, 2008). This means coaching is more interested in the “what” question than the “why?” of counselling or therapy. In general clients seek counselling because there are one or more challenges that are becoming barriers to participating fully in life, and in some cases this is impacting on mental well-being. In coaching there is no assumption that the coachee has a ‘problem’, rather that they are resourceful, healthy and able to make changes in their life if they wish.
It is also different from therapy, line management, appraisal or educational supervision. Coaching benefits anyone, at any stage of career and success. You cannot be referred to coaching. Coachees must be fully engaged with coaching and seek it voluntarily.
What are some of the reasons that lead people to have coaching?
There are many reasons, and there is no ‘right’ one. Some issues that might lead you to access coaching might be:
- There is something at stake, e.g. a challenge or development opportunity and you want to make the most of it
- You perceive a gap in your knowledge, skills, confidence or resources
- You want to achieve different outcomes, improve your performance, or improve your leadership or management skills
- You are experiencing a lack of clarity and have choices to make
- Your work and life are out of balance, and this is having an unwanted impact
- You have yet to identify your key strengths and how best to utilise them
My Trainer told me to seek coaching; what should I do?
Coachees must be fully engaged with coaching and seek it voluntarily. Coaching requires active participation. Duty or obligation have no place in the coaching interaction. You are welcome to apply for coaching but you must be committed to the process yourself.
Am I eligible for coaching?
This is a coaching scheme run by NHS England in Yorkshire and Humber, for Yorkshire and Humber Postgraduate Doctors in Training (PGDiTs), FLP Leadership fellows, senior educators and deanery staff. You can access coaching via this scheme for free if:
- you are in foundation, taking an ‘F3’ year, or in specialty training in Y&H
- you are a fellow on the Future Leaders Programme (sessions must be accessed during your fellowship year) in Y&H
- you are a senior educator with an NHSE role (Training Programme Director, Associate Dean, Deputy Dean or Dean) in Y&H
- you are a deanery employee in Y&H
- you are a SAS grade doctor with Educational or Clinical Supervisor responsibilities in Y&H
If you do not fit the criteria above, you may be able to access coaching or mentoring via the Leadership Academy.
How many sessions of coaching can I have?
The coaching programme provides Postgraduate Doctors in Training (PGDiTs) with a maximum of six coaching sessions. Coaching sessions usually last between 60 and 90 minutes in length.
Are there any circumstances where the coachee can have more than six sessions of funded coaching?
Coaching is a focused, time-limited relationship hence the recommendation for a maximum of six sessions. In exceptional circumstances e.g., new and significant circumstances emerge in the last weeks of the coaching relationship, it may be possible to extend the coaching. This requires discussion with the Coaching Lead and is not guaranteed. We ask that before arranging these extra sessions with their coach, the coachee emails firstname.lastname@example.org to briefly explain the circumstances.
Can I return to coaching?
Yes, any coachee can return to coaching if their circumstances, either personal or professional, have changed. If your MentorNet account has been deactivated, contact email@example.com to reactivate your account, and then you can select a coach."
How do I access coaching?
Please see our how to access coaching webpage for full guidance on how to engage with the scheme.
Should the same person be both coach and clinical supervisor to the Postgraduate Doctor in Training (PGDiT)?
No. In very small specialties or geographies, or in a situation where the supervisor and Postgraduate Doctor in Training (PGDiT) have worked together through a difficult or challenging situation, this would need to be weighed against accessibility. The key here is to define the roles carefully and keep to them.
What if the coach has a conflict of interest?
If the coach is on an appointments panel where the coachee is an applicant, or if they are likely to be involved in a Postgraduate Doctors in Training (PGDiTs), competency assessment, this would represent a conflict of interest. In these circumstances, the coach will need to excuse him/herself, and he/she need not explain why - only that the coach knows them too well. The coachee will then need to identify a suitable alternative coach.
What training has the coach had?
The best way to become a coach is through well-devised training followed by a lot of practice and supervision. Anyone can call themselves a coach and at present the profession is not regulated. However all our NHSE Y&H coaches have undergone a training programme and assessment, plus continue to attend CPD and supervision.