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Compassion - the Authentic Tea podcast with Susy

Susy is trained as a TimeToThink coach and supervisor and currently shares her expertise as Associate Dean and Coaching Lead for Health Education Yorkshire and Humber.

In addition to her amazing roles in medical education and leadership, Susy is also the founder of Hestia Blankets, her textile studio creating beautiful Harris Tweed blankets.

In her leadership roles, Susy supports doctors and healthcare professionals to be their best selves and do their best work.

In Episode 27 I am joined by Susy. We chat about how the quality of what we do is related to the quality of our thinking. Susy shares her thoughts on the value of coaching to provide protected time to think and how compassionate leadership can allow individuals to thrive.

Rachel: (00:00):

Today I am excited to be chatting with Susy. In her leadership role, Susy supports doctors and healthcare professionals to be their best selves and to do their best work. Susy has trained as a Time to Think coach and supervisor and is currently sharing her expertise as associate dean and coaching lead for health education in Yorkshire and Humber. In addition to these amazing roles in medical education and leadership, Susy is also the founder of Hestia Blankets which is her textile studio creating beautiful Harris Tweed blankets. Welcome, Susy.

Susy: (00:33):

Thank you. Thank you for such a lovely intro, Rachel.

Rachel: (00:36):

I'm so excited to be chatting with you today. I have to confess that we came across each other years and years ago, and you're definitely a part of my own path and journey to where I am today. I am so pleased that you've continued that on particularly in supporting other people in their medical education and their leadership development. Maybe we could start with medical education and what you think about the value of coaching and how you think that organizations particularly within the NHS in the UK but other healthcare organizations as well can use coaching to support doctors to be their best selves.

Susy: (01:17):

First of all, thank you for those kind words. It's been a pleasure and a privilege to walk alongside you for some of your decision-making. With regard to coaching and medical education, well, I would ask you two questions I think like a true coach. The first is, when was the last time that you were able to think to the end of your thoughts? I'll just leave that with you to know. And then the second one is, how do you personally answer a question that doesn't have a Googleable answer?

Susy: (01:54):

When we consider those well, let's think about the first one. Mostly we don't think to the end of our thoughts, so we're not enabled to do so. In other words, we're interrupted and then our thinking stops or is at best stifled. Coaching is protected at Time to Think. That's independently of other people, that's thinking for yourself. I think we can see that medical training is excellent at teaching how to follow guidelines, appraise evidence, look at what's been done before, follow the recommendations. All of which are an essential part of good patient care and safe practice.

Susy: (02:33):

But the things that people struggle with once they get further into their professional responsibilities are not how to implement best practice guidelines. They're about working out how to manage challenging relationships and how to work out who they are in their particular role, what they stand for, and therefore what they stand up for.

Susy: (02:53):

These are also all essential components of good patient care. We know that if we have poorly functioning teams, we know now that patients do worse. So that's huge. That's hugely important for a patient well-being and also staff well-being. And yet this examination of how we behave relationally to each other in the workplace is often neglected or you might get a two-day course just before you reach your CCT.

Susy: (03:20):

So I believe that coaching can provide us the space for people to explore some of this stuff and to work out how they're going to tackle it in advance of having to. That's individual coaching in a one-to-one context. I think action learning sets also provide this sort of space for this level of self-inquiry, and then the group element of support and the sharing of wisdom gets built in. So both of those disciplines do the same thing in supporting medical education.