8th August, 2023

What Happens When We’re Really Listened to

With Tom Dillon

Photo of Tom Dillon

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On this episode

Do you ever feel like you’re not being heard? Or like you’re under pressure and there’s never enough time? Few of us get the chance to truly be listened to – coaching can help with that.

It’s not therapy or listening to someone else’s advice. It’s about exploring solutions yourself, with guidance. Coaching gives you permission to take a tricky situation and ask “If this were different, what would I notice?”.

Coaching allows us to think to the end of our thoughts, with someone who listens and asks generative questions. And by adopting a coaching mindset, we can help our teams solve problems by using the skills and knowledge they already have.

If you’ve felt burnt out or resentful, help is at hand. This week, transformational coach, trainer, and author Tom Dillon joins Rachel to explore how different coaching approaches can help you reclaim your agency, think more clearly, and act positively.

Show links

About the guests

Tom Dillon photo

Reasons to listen

  • To learn about the benefits of coaching, including how it can transform your life and provide a space for thinking and exploration
  • To understand how coaching differs from therapy and mentoring, and why coaching is a valuable tool for healthcare professionals
  • To discover different coaching approaches, like the person-centred and solution-focused approaches, and how they can be used to help you generate options and make your own decisions

Episode highlights


What haas coaching ever done for us?


Coaching vs therapy


The power of being listened to


Hearing back what you’ve just said


The person-centred approach to coaching


Are doctors good listeners?


The solution-focused approach to coaching


When negative beliefs prevent us from imagining solutions


Cognitive behavioural approach


Somatic approach to coaching


Neuroscience approach


Gestalt coaching approach


Coaching “the uncoachable”


Taking a coaching approach


Work with Tom


Your Coaching Journey

Episode transcript

[00:00:00] Rachel: Doctors and other people in the caring professions tend to think that they’re brilliant listeners. But is that always the case? Of course we’re under pressure and there’s never enough time. But one of the things I’ve learned since becoming a coach and being coached, is that being heard is incredibly valuable. And that would just not listen to enough.

[00:00:20] Rachel: Coaching isn’t about lying on a therapist’s couch or sitting with a guru as they dispense wisdom. It’s really about uncovering and exploring solutions yourself. Just having that guidance, and even that permission to take a tricky situation and ask, What if this were different, what would I notice? z Can be a huge benefit.

[00:00:40] Rachel: This week I’m talking to Tom Dillon, a transformational coach who helps doctors learn to take a coaching approach. So listen to this episode if you’re interested in improving your listening and leadership skills. If he wants to find out about how to become a coach or just getting some free coaching support.

[00:00:57] Rachel: Oh, and if you’re interested, Tom’s offering the You Are Not a Frog listeners 20% of his coaching courses. Just follow the link in the show notes for more information, and use the code frogspawn, all capitals to get your discount.

[00:01:10] Rachel: Welcome to You Are Not a Frog, the podcast for doctors and other busy professionals in high stress, high stakes jobs. I’m Dr. Rachel Morris, a former GP, now working as a coach, trainer, and speaker.

[00:01:26] Rachel: Like frogs in a pan of slowly boiling water, many of us don’t notice how bad the stress and exhaustion have become until it’s too late. But you are not a frog. Burning out or getting out are not your only options. In this podcast, I’ll I’ll be talking to friends, colleagues and experts and inviting you to make a deliberate choice about how you will live and work so that you can beat stress and work happier.

[00:01:55] Tom: I’m Tom Dillon, I’m a transformational coach for doctors and I’ve been coaching for about 14 years now and I’m also heading up the Doctor’s Transformational Coaching Diploma for your coaching journey and that program’s been running for around three years and it’s just specifically for doctors, training them to become transformational coaches.

[00:02:15] Rachel: It’s wonderful to have you here on the podcast with us, Tom.

[00:02:18] Tom: It’s wonderful to be here, so thank you very much for inviting me on.

[00:02:21] Rachel: I’ve wanted to do one on, on sort of pure coaching for a long time, because I wanted to start off with the question, and this is a. a bit of a Monty Python question, I guess, you know, what is coaching ever done for us? What’s the Romans ever done for us? It’s a pretty obvious question, but it genuinely transformed my life. And I’d love to know your take on firstly, why coaching?

[00:02:43] Tom: And I guess I have the same response, that it transformed my life.

[00:02:46] Tom: So I first came to coaching at a time when I was going through a particularly bad time. So both my parents had died at a relatively young age. I mean, I was in my thirties, but they were relatively young. Um, not long after that, my marriage ended and then both my children left for university. So life was turned upside down within the space of 10 years.

[00:03:08] Tom: So I found a coach and was a little bit lost and explored my future, reimagined my future with them. Um, I went back to university and studied psychology at the same time I started exploring a coaching program. And, and really I haven’t stopped learning about coaching and psychology since then. So I have the same approach that it really transformed my life at that time.

[00:03:35] Tom: Now, coaching isn’t just about going through bad times. It is also just about having a space in which to think. And for me, that is the beauty of coaching. I don’t know of any other space where you can sit with someone and have a conversation where they just allow you to think to the end of your thought.

[00:03:54] Tom: Most of the time, when we sit down with someone and say, Oh, this is on my mind, I want to give this some thought, they will immediately jump in with ideas and say, Oh, you could be doing this. They’ll have their suggestions and they’ll try to be helpful and they will come up with ideas, but it interferes with their own thinking.

[00:04:10] Tom: So the beauty of coaching is to sit with someone whilst they listen and ask generative questions, play back what they’re hearing and what you’re saying, so that you hear back your own thoughts. And in that way, we continue thinking until the end of our thoughts. And, yeah, that’s a great way to find a way forward, I think.

[00:04:31] Tom: Um, and I, I still enjoy that. I still enjoy being coached. Um, obviously on the program that I run, I regularly step in and do practice coaching with the delegates, so I get to be coached, which is a joy. So probably a week doesn’t go by without me having at least 20 minutes of someone coaching me. And whenever I approach that space, I never know what I’m going to talk about. They said, what would you like to talk about today? I’ve got no idea, but something will emerge. And I just wait for something to come up. And I spend 20 minutes, really with me talking, just exploring that, and they’ll ask some questions, and I’ll do some good listening, and do some good playing back. Uh, but it’s a lovely space to be in.

[00:05:08] Rachel: It is totally transformative, isn’t it? And yes, in the, in the Shapes training that we run, I, I often sort of demonstrate a three minute coaching, even just three minutes with a colleague. And I, you know, often either myself who’d been coached and my colleague who’s been coached will get to the end of three minutes and go Wow, that was actually really helpful. Who knew? Who knew?

[00:05:29] Tom: Ha, ha,

[00:05:30] Rachel: I, I think, traditionally in medicine and in healthcare, we really aren’t used to coaching. It’s getting much more prominent now, but certainly when I was growing up and when I was doing my training in the 90s, I’d never even heard of coaching. And I didn’t get any coaching till the, you know, I don’t know when it was, sort of 2014, 15, that was before I’d even really heard of it.

[00:05:53] Rachel: And so I think there’s a, a little bit of skepticism, although it’s getting less about what coaching can actually do for you. And I think a lot of us equate coaching with therapy in our head. And then a lot of people think, well, I don’t really need therapy. So therefore I don’t need coaching. What would your answer be to that sort of statement?

[00:06:15] Tom: Yeah, and I think for most people it sits somewhere between mentoring and therapy doesn’t it? That’s the spectrum. At one end we’ve got mentors and lots of people within within the NHS will be able to access a mentor and that’s a really useful space. So I don’t want to take anything away from mentors. I think that’s a really valuable space. But you are, if you go to see a mentor, you’re really expecting them to give you the benefit of their wisdom and experience.

[00:06:40] Tom: At the other end we have that therapy approach where obviously it’s much deeper work. So if we have some Maybe past trauma. We’ll be looking to try and resolve that. In coaching spaces, it is really just about giving some really good thought to whatever is coming up for us in our lives. And obviously for doctors, there’s been an awful lot going on for them in the last three or four years and life is difficult. So actually having some space where you can just sit and think. And explore a situation, uh, while someone listens to you.

[00:07:12] Tom: say, I, I don’t wanna wanna estimate the power of being listened to. I think that is something extraordinary that goes on in coaching that you are not going to have anywhere else. And I think until you’ve tried it, until you’ve explored that space where you’ve been allowed to think to the end of your thoughts, you can’t know how it’s going to feel.

[00:07:29] Tom: So I’d say any skeptics out there, just give it a go. There are plenty of free coaching options available within the NHS that we offer, uh, for our trainees coming off of the coaching program that have been through the training, they have to do 20 hours of practice coaching. So we offer three hours of free coaching to doctors that want to be coached.

[00:07:48] Tom: Um, so you could give it a try without any cost, um, just your time to sit and be listened to. And what a joy to have that. And I think if once you’ve tried it, you’ll be a convert.

[00:07:59] Rachel: Absolutely. I, I totally agree with you. What is it Tom, about someone listening to you? Because there’s that lovely quote from Nancy Klein, isn’t there? The, the quality of your listening determines the quality of my thinking. What is it about someone listening to you that means that you have those transformations?

[00:08:18] Tom: I think it’s just that it doesn’t happen in any other environment. We just don’t have that opportunity. And, you know, self coaching is a thing. And I think there are tools and techniques that you can use to self coach. But the problem with that is you tend to be trapped in your own head, and those thoughts that you’re having if you’re facing a difficult situation, um, are not generally coming from a good place. So we’re not well resourced to have that conversation just in our own head.

[00:08:45] Tom: So actually talking out loud, letting those words come out, we don’t always know what we’re thinking until we say those words out loud. And I’ve certainly had that experience in coaching where I’ve, I’ve sat and I’ve talked about something and I said, I really didn’t know I was thinking about that until I’ve just said it. And so I think there’s, that’s one element of it.

[00:09:05] Tom: I think the other element is when someone plays back what they’ve heard, so if they summarize it, just maybe play back one particular word again, we might not even recognize those words as something that we’ve said, but there’s something powerful in hearing back what we’ve just said.

[00:09:21] Tom: Uh, and then that space, just that space where we’re allowed to, Okay, I’ll go back to it again. It’s probably the third time I’ve mentioned it, but that thinking to the end of our thoughts. You know, we’re all experts in our own lives. So we do have the ability to resolve our own issues and to, and to decide on the best way forward for us. No one else can make that decision for us. So we, it is good for us to do our own thinking, but I don’t think there’s any other space where you’re going to do that.

[00:09:47] Rachel: And I guess there is a massive difference, isn’t there, between the bit of our brain that’s doing the thinking and the bit that does the speaking, and also the bit that does, does writing down. I’ve certainly had times where, yes, I’ve been, been coached and I’ll say something and I’ll say Oh my goodness, that sounds ridiculous, but that is what I’ve been thinking for the last two weeks and you say it out loud, you think, My goodness, or you write it down and you look at it on the paper, you’re like, oh my, my word. So it’s, it must just be allowing us to access completely different bits. And generally one doesn’t walk around talking to oneself. You need to talk to somebody else, don’t you? So that’s, I guess what the, the listening is, right?

[00:10:30] Tom: Yeah, just that opportunity to articulate your thoughts. And like you say, sometimes it will be Oh, that sounds ridiculous now I’ve said it out loud. Other times it will be, Oh my god, that is something that I could do. I had never thought of that. And there’s just something about that flow of consciousness as you’re talking, as you say, it accesses different parts of the brain.

[00:10:51] Tom: I had a lovely example of someone who, um, Came to me in an outrage that he’d been offered a job and had taken the job, happy with the salary. And they said, Oh, by the way, there’s another bit of money attached to this. I didn’t realize, but it’s there. So you’ll probably get that in your first pay packet.

[00:11:06] Tom: So his first pay packet came and went and he didn’t get it. So he went back to his management and said, Oh, I didn’t get my money. And she said, Oh, I’ll look into it. She went came back and said, Oh, they did away with it two years ago. Now, she was the new manager to the organisation and just didn’t know. She’d made a mistake in telling him that he was going to get the money. But he was outraged and was going to fight it all the way to the top. And I just played back and said, It sounds like your manager has made a mistake and she’s told you this, turns out it’s not true. But it sounds like she just made a mistake. And he went, Yeah, you’re right. And all the fight went out of him. Because he realised it was just a human error. She just, she was new to the organisation. There was no real fault on her part. Uh, but it was great for him just to hear it coming back. Because it took all that emotion out of it.

[00:11:51] Rachel: And that is the power of a coaching approach, isn’t it? And there’s lots of literature about how just, you know, having a thinking partner can be really important. Someone who just listens to you and, and definitely, I would say that’d be the first step. If you can’t find a coach, find a colleague and talk at them for half an hour and then they can talk at you for half an hour. Brilliant.

[00:12:06] Rachel: But what you can do as a coach and taking a coaching approach is do stuff like this, like you just did, reflect it back. Even if it is just reflect it back and side note, doctors and nurses and any healthcare professionals listening to that, this is basic communication skills, right? We learn this when we’re consulting, we learn summarizing and chunking and checking. This is what I’ve just heard. Does that sound right to you? And exactly what you would do when you’re coaching.

[00:12:33] Rachel: So really anybody can take, can take that coaching approach. And I would encourage people just to think, you know, firstly, just listen for a bit longer and then start reflecting stuff back.

[00:12:43] Rachel: But I think people do get a little bit confused, Tom, about all the different. Types of coaching and, and what’s best and what should I use? And what if I get it wrong or make a mistake? So I know you’ve got some thoughts about the various different types and perhaps you could share something that we could steal from each type that could be particularly effective.

[00:13:01] Tom: Yeah, I’d be delighted to do that. So on our course, we cover different approaches on different modules, so we go into them in a lot more detail. But there are definitely advantages to certain approaches. And I say, I’ve been coaching now for 14 years, learning about coaching for 14 years, that learning never stops. So I’m constantly revisiting stuff.

[00:13:21] Tom: So I, um, my first coaching training was around the person centered approach, which is obviously based on the work of Carl Rogers. He was a person centered therapist, and he took his work out to education, to healthcare. You know, most doctors will recognize the patient centered approach, which puts the patient at the center of everything.

[00:13:36] Tom: Uh, so that was his approach. And I, that’s what I’d learned in the first year of my coaching. It was all based on this person centered approach. I didn’t realize until about five years ago, so it’s like nine years into my coaching, that Carl Rogers, if you ever watch any videos of him doing his therapy, he never really asked any questions. He just played back. So, okay, so, this is happening. And, and then he would leave the other person, like he’d leave that space, that silence, for them to pick up on their thoughts and they’d carry on. So we, we try to embed some of these skills and we, we cover everything off in a lot more detail.

[00:14:12] Tom: But if we, if we take a person centered approach as a first approach that we might look at, and I think for most coaching, it’s based on that non directive person centered, uh, approach. I think listening is the most important aspect of that. The listening and the playing back.

[00:14:29] Tom: But again, I think doctors, nurses, any medical professional, I think everyone that comes to my course thinks they’re a good listener. It’s a transferable skill that they bring with them.

[00:14:39] Rachel: We’re not. I mean, ridiculous, I don’t know what the evidence is, the evidence used to be a long time ago, so I used to teach communication skills at Cambridge and I can’t remember what the initial timing was when doctors used to interrupt. I think it was after about like 18 seconds or something ridiculous. And then we started teaching communication skills and it got a little bit longer. But it still wasn’t that long before we’re interrupting and asking questions and trying to, because we’re trying to diagnose the problem, aren’t we? So, you know, you can’t really blame us, but it is quite, we think we’re great at listening, but yeah, you’re right. We’re really not.

[00:15:14] Tom: And, and within coaching, certainly in my approach, we have five levels of listening. And the first one is not listening. Now that’s, that’s the sort of engagement you have maybe with colleagues and with your partner at home, where you’re typing an email and they’re talking and you’re, nodding, grunting in the right places, but getting it wrong. Um, so that’s the not listening.

[00:15:32] Tom: Uh, at the next level, we’re listening to interrupt. And I think for most doctors in a consultation, they would be doing that because they’ve got 10 minutes. And they’ve got to move on. And if someone’s talking about their cat, you know, there is a point where you have to move things on.

[00:15:46] Tom: And I, if ever I’m in a doctor’s consultation, I will, if my doctor turns to his computer, I will just shut up. Because I know that he’s not going to be listening to me anymore. He’s looking at another history. He’s not paying attention to me.

[00:15:59] Tom: So I think just understanding that is important for doctors in that, and that’s something we take from that person centered approach, that if we are listening, just do that. Just pay attention. And even when they finish speaking, just leave a bit of a pause, so that they can pick up on it again. Because that, sometimes it’s the really important stuff that comes after that pause. Particularly in the coaching room, but I think also in consultations, that might well be the case as well.

[00:16:21] Rachel: So you’ve got the person centered stuff, which is mainly about listening and reflecting back. What did you find after that one then?

[00:16:27] Tom: So, we then move on to the solution focus approach. And they fit quite nicely together. And if ever, anyone’s ever looked at motivational interviewing, it’s sort of a combination of the two. So, you were in a motivational interviewing, Setting you would do, do the listing, do a bit of a summary, um, and then you would move on to, okay, let’s look at what options you have available.

[00:16:47] Tom: Now for a medical professional that might be them coming up with their options. But obviously in a coaching room we are exploring the options that the person in front of us has.

[00:16:56] Tom: So solution focused is a great, and they say it’s not about the coach coming up with the answers. It’s about exploring for the coachee, the person in front of us, exploring for them, what their options are and getting them to generate those options. Because if they can generate their own options and then choose from those options, they’re going to own that. And they’re much more likely to go ahead with something if they’ve come up with the idea and they’ve owned it.

[00:17:20] Tom: And, you know, I know we’ve spoken in the past about the whole amygdala hijack thing. Well, one of the things that provokes that reaction, that defensive reaction is someone telling us what we should do.

[00:17:29] Rachel: Yeah,

[00:17:30] Tom: that’s not a, so immediately go to a defensive place and yeah, well, I’m never going to do that. I’ll nod, but I’m not going to do it. So actually allowing them to come up there.

[00:17:41] Tom: Uh, so one of the great things, one of the great tools that comes from, um, the solution focused approach is the magic wand question, uh, where we imagine a possible future. And quite often within the coaching room, people are so immersed in the problem, they don’t actually stop to think about what they want. And one of my favourite coaching questions is What would you like to have happen?

[00:18:02] Tom: So the guy that was talking about um, fighting this bit of money, obviously he wanted the bit of money, but he didn’t talk about wanting the bit of money, he just talked about the fight. Uh, so actually just saying, what would you like to have happen is a great way to unlock their thinking. But if we extend that and go to, Let’s imagine we have a magic wand.

[00:18:22] Tom: Let’s try that Rachel, see if we can do it in the moment. Um, so think of something that you have going on at the moment, where you’re not happy with the situation and you would like it to change.

[00:18:32] Rachel: Okay. Yep.

[00:18:34] Tom: So, Rachel, let’s imagine that tonight when you go to bed, overnight a magic wand has been waved, and you wake up tomorrow morning and everything is as you wish it to be. Now you don’t know the magic wand has been waved because you were asleep whilst it happened. But when you wake up, everything is as you wanted. How would you know? What would you notice that would tell you that magic wand had been waved?

[00:18:56] Rachel: Well, I would suddenly get an extra hour in the day before the rest of the family got up when I could actually really focus on a bit of meditation and journaling.

[00:19:06] Tom: And if you were able to do that, and it sounds achievable, how would you feel?

[00:19:12] Rachel: I’d feel calm. I’d feel like I’d started the day right. I feel like I was starting to progress with something that I really want to learn how to do. And I think probably the family would be a lot happier as well, frankly.

[00:19:24] Tom: And then what would you be saying to yourself in that extra hour?

[00:19:27] Rachel: Well, I’d be really pleased that I’d got it. And I’d just be feeling like I was much more in control of the day. I’d be feeling just like, yeah, this is something I really wanted to do. I’ve made it happen. It’s good. And everything’s not been squashed afterwards.

[00:19:41] Tom: So feeling pleased with yourself. Feeling like things aren’t squashed.

[00:19:45] Rachel: And I’d probably feel, a lot calmer and much more energized anyway because I’ve been able to meditate, right?

[00:19:49] Tom: Now that would lead on to a longer coaching conversation about how you might go about planning your day or your morning. But, there is something then that you know what you want. And having imagined it, it becomes real in your brain, because our brain can’t distinguish between what we’ve visualized and reality. It’s there now as something that your brain recognizes, so then it becomes much easier to work towards it. And that, you know, that was a very simple, um, exercise. But it works so well.

[00:20:18] Tom: I had a guy in lockdown that had dysfunctional team meetings. And he said, Oh, it’s just a nightmare. Everyone talks over each other. So I did that Magic Wand thing. If, on Sunday night, Magic Wands waved, you wake up Monday morning, go into that meeting, everything’s as you want it to be, how would you know the Magic Wand had been waved? He said, Well, they would all be on mute. They would allow the present presenter just to present without interrupting him. They would then take it in turns. I would unmute them and they’d take it in turns to speak. And it would just be very orderly. And I said to him, Who chairs those meetings? He said, I do. And so, you know, all the clues were there. He knew what he wanted, but just hadn’t had that opportunity to articulate it and to think, okay, actually this is something. It’s in my imagination at the moment. It is something that’s achievable.

[00:21:00] Rachel: And it’s really interesting, Tom, because I think there’s a nuance to that question that, that’s very clever. Because I use that magic wand question quite a lot. Which is great, but you said, how would you know it’s been happening? And that’s just slightly different, isn’t it?

[00:21:16] Tom: Yeah, and I think there’s something about the little bit of storytelling that, Okay, you go to sleep tonight, and whilst you’re asleep a magic wand is waved. You don’t know because you’re asleep, so there’s a little bit of storytelling going on, and I think that builds it up into more of a, Okay, I’m going there, I can see myself in the morning. Whereas if we just say, okay, a magic wand’s been waved, what would you like to have happen? It’s just not the same. It doesn’t have the same resonance, I don’t think.

[00:21:42] Tom: But yeah, it takes, how long did it take me? 30 seconds maybe to say all of that? Um, it doesn’t take any time at all, but it’s a lovely way to engage people with what they actually want. So if you’ve got, if you’re in a conversation with a colleague and they’re moaning about a particular situation, just going to that place.

[00:21:59] Tom: Now, you might get a bit of pushback and people say, Well, it can’t be how I want it to be. Well, let’s just imagine. And it might be that they don’t get everything they want. But at least if they know what they want, they can ask for it. And that’s quite often the case, isn’t it? That people don’t even ask. They think, well, they’ll do that projection of what’s going to happen and they’ll say, well, they’ll never give me that. But they’ve never actually asked anyone for it.

[00:22:20] Rachel: Yes, because I think a lot of us just, just don’t know what we want. We know what we don’t want and we know that we want to whinge about it. And I’m just thinking if, if that coachee that you had who didn’t get that extra money in his paycheck, if one of his mates had just said to him, what would you like to be happening? Rather than, Oh, it’s awful. It’s really, really awful. Isn’t it?

[00:22:36] Rachel: And I think that is one of the really powerful things about coaching is that often you do spend a lot of time working out what the actual issue is. Because people come not even knowing what the issue is at all, right?

[00:22:48] Tom: Yeah, and with the solution focused approach, it is very much that focus on the solution, obviously. So, we’re not sitting with the problem for long. You know, we’ll let them tell their story, I’m not going to interrupt them whilst they tell me everything that’s going on, but I will summarise and then I will ask that question.

[00:23:04] Tom: So there’s a, uh, professor at, I think she’s at Stanford, Haesun Moon her name is, who’s very much into the solution focused approach to, uh, coaching. And she talks about the fact that you can’t imagine something that you haven’t already experienced. So anything that you can see in that future. It already exists somewhere in your mind. Because that’s how it gets into your future.

[00:23:26] Tom: So it’s not, you know, it’s not wild imaginings. There is some, some reality to it that you can build in.

[00:23:32] Rachel: And then, then it’s just the question of, you know, if you’ve got that person to imagine that reality, the thing they want, well, the solution bit is quite simple, really, isn’t it?

[00:23:40] Tom: No, that’s the next stage of coaching, obviously. Once they have that, okay, this is what I want, then you work towards how they’re going to achieve it.

[00:23:47] Tom: Because you’ve now said this is what I want It’s entirely up to you Rachel whether you actually get up and have that hour in the morning No one else is in the way are they it’s just you

[00:23:57] Rachel: So what do you do if you get someone, so if I was going to be really bloody money, but that’s impossible, Tom, I’m, I’m not, I’m just not going to get it. Cause there are people that we coach that are yeah, but yeah, but yeah, but it’s just impossible that that’s, that’s not, that will never happen.

[00:24:10] Tom: Yeah, and I, I suppose we move perhaps onto a more cognitive behavioural approach if we’re looking at that. Because then there may be limiting beliefs that they have that we need to unpick a little bit. Um, and the, the never happen is an absolute, isn’t it? It’s that over generalisation, well that could never happen for me, and there’s some perhaps underlying belief in them that good things don’t happen for them.

[00:24:35] Tom: Now, we have to be careful, because obviously if we ask them only one question, they might go to some fantasy world that could never happen. I might say, well, I want to play professional football for England and be in the first team. Well, you know, I’m kind of a bit old for that, and I’ve never played football, so that’s a little bit, you know, we have to be realistic in our imagining. But, uh, I think there are going to be times when even if someone has said it and they might go away saying, right, that’s what I’m going to do, they might come back having not done it because they still don’t quite believe it.

[00:25:08] Tom: Um, so if we, if we get that in the coaching room and they’re saying, well, that could never happen for me, okay, exploring what the underlying core belief is about themselves that means that it couldn’t happen for them.

[00:25:18] Rachel: And this is where I think coaching gets a little bit tricky, perhaps, because once you’ve uncovered the core belief, how do you then help somebody to change that core belief? Because core beliefs are, like we say, they’re really at our core. They’re our center, often of our being, identity, and their stories we’ve told ourselves from when, or people have told us from when we were really, really small.

[00:25:40] Tom: So I think, you know, we talked about the difference between coaching and therapy. Now there may be some deep rooted beliefs that you can’t unpick in the coaching, they’re so deeply entrenched that it is the work of a therapist. But I think in the coaching room, we can make a start on those core beliefs and actually just test out what the reality is. So if we do have that, well I could never do that, actually exploring that and trying to find something in the past.

[00:26:03] Tom: And this perhaps goes back to the of looking at the past and tell me about a time when you achieved something you didn’t think you were going to achieve. And how did you do that? And what strengths did you use to achieve that at that time? And what strengths could you now use to achieve what you want to achieve now?

[00:26:20] Tom: So I think there’s something about getting to the core of who they are and what strengths they have and what internal resources they have. And external resources, because they will have people around them that might be able to help. But just exploring what’s going on for them internally that could help them to work towards something.

[00:26:37] Tom: So, uh, yeah, we’ve, I know you’ve talked about, um, imposter syndrome on the podcast before, and that’s, you know, that imposter experience is something that quite often comes up when people are doing something new, or thinking about doing something new. And I think if we can build some self efficacy into the conversation and take little steps.

[00:26:57] Tom: So I, I ran a marathon when I was, I was about 30 when I ran my first marathon. The first, furthest I’d ever run before that was three miles. Back before I decided I was going to run a marathon. But I was relatively fit. I’d been doing step aerobics, you know, an hour and a half of step was built up some stamina. So I had some belief that I could run and I was inspired by watching someone in the Olympics that came in five hours after everyone else. I don’t know how he got into running.

[00:27:28] Tom: But anyway, uh, that inspired me. I thought I could run a marathon. But, the self efficacy was I can take the steps necessary in order to get to where I want to be. And I think there’s something about bringing it back to what could you do now, what small step could you take now that would lead you to where you want to be?

[00:27:48] Tom: Because quite often it is about maybe a lack of confidence that they have those abilities. And maybe they don’t have all that they need just yet, but it’s that just yet. It’s that growth mindset thing, isn’t it? The work of Carol Dweck of, okay, I can’t do that yet.

[00:28:03] Rachel: And it just strikes me and I’m thinking back to sort of coaching sessions I have with people where we, we think about and invariably when you coach doctors, they come up and the first thing they say is I want to get control of my time, you know. Time management, ah, it’s so difficult. And then we’ll, okay, well let’s look at your diary. Let’s look at what jobs you’ve got and we’ll do a lot of solution focused stuff about what could you drop and what could this and how can you, and this is where the whole saying no stuff has come from me. Because If you stick with that purely solution focused, okay, well, it’s obvious you need to say no to this, that, and that stop doing this, blah, blah, blah, and they go, yes, that’s what we’re going to do. And they go away and they don’t do any of it because of the core beliefs around, if I say, no, I’m a bad person. If I say no, it means I’m not good enough and all that sort of stuff. So how would you sort of pick out those core beliefs? How do you tend to identify those core beliefs? You just pick up on what they’re saying, or do you, do you have questions that you ask them?

[00:28:59] Tom: Yeah, I think more often than not, they will just tell me what those core beliefs are. But it may be that in saying, well, I could never do that because of this, we have to say, OK, what are you choosing to believe about yourself that tells you that? So we can just ask a simple question of what are you choosing to believe? And it might be that, well, they just believe it is to them. It’s fact, but it’s a choice.

[00:29:23] Tom: And it might be deeply embedded. It might be. conditioned over time, but they could choose to believe something else. I think that’s, the solution to that problem is that making the choice to believe something else. And actually testing that out. So taking actions. So I’m jumping between different approaches,

[00:29:42] Tom: but in the cognitive behavioral approach, we look at the way people are thinking. So their thoughts determine the way they feel about things, that influences their physiology and then that influences their behaviour. Now, it might be that in order to test out that belief, we can choose different actions and then the actions start to influence the thinking and the emotions and the physiology. We might just choose to change our physiology, and that will make a difference.

[00:30:07] Tom: I had a lovely, uh, uh, coaching experience with a lady who came to coaching saying that she wanted more presence in the boardroom. She was in a very male dominated environment and nobody listened to her. That was her belief. And as she was talking to me in the coaching room, she was looking down. Now when I talked, she looked me directly in the eye, no problem with that. But as she talked, she looked down at the pad in front of her.

[00:30:33] Tom: And I just noticed that and said, I notice when you’re talking that you look down at the desk. How conscious are you that you’re doing that? You say, I had no idea I was doing that. Now, if you’re in a board meeting trying to influence people, how can you do that if you’re looking down at your desk? Because you’ve got no idea whether they’re engaged or whether they’re making eye contact. None of that information is available to you.

[00:30:56] Tom: Now there’s a very simple change in her posture, in the way that she was going to show up in a board meeting, which will then change the way she thinks about board meetings. It will change her behaviour in board meetings. It will change other people’s attitude towards her, because she’s looking around the room, engaging with them.

[00:31:11] Tom: Yeah, so that’s um, I think that recognition that the whole person comes into the coaching room, and if we take that cognitive behavioral approach of knowing that their thinking is going to influence their feelings and their physiology and their actions, but they’re all interlinked. So if we can just change one of them and try something new, then it might well change everything.

[00:31:32] Rachel: it’s really. Interesting how our thoughts obviously influence our feelings and then that influences our actions. And I’ve been doing a lot of reading and thinking and listening to various podcasts recently, where people are saying, yes, we do need to change our thinking, but

[00:31:50] Rachel: often with anxiety, it’s located further down in your body and you can’t change that anxious feelings by thinking your way out of it. You need to go a little bit more in your body, getting a little bit more somatic and using what your body’s actually telling you. Is that something that’s emerging much more in coaching these days?

[00:32:10] Tom: Yeah, and there’s a whole approach of somatic coaching, uh, which exists. And I think really it’s just about recognising for each individual what their somatic markers are. So for me, if I’m particularly nervous about doing some public speaking, my mouth goes dry, which is really unhelpful if you’re about to talk to people.

[00:32:29] Tom: So I know that, I know that about myself. So I have a strategy that I always have water with me, and in some way that tells my brain I don’t need to worry about it because there’s some water. Whereas if I’m, if I’m, you know, my water’s at the back of the stage, then I’m, that, that increases the anxiety. So I think there are things that we could do.

[00:32:44] Tom: And obviously, if we want to take ourself, ourselves out of that sympathetic nervous response, nervous system response, breathing is a great way to do that. Um, so that might just calm that down, bring us back to a rest, a digest state, um, which allows our somatics to get back to normal, which will then allow our thinking to return to a more stable state.

[00:33:08] Tom: uh, there’s a lady called, um, Jill Bolte Taylor who, uh.

[00:33:11] Rachel: Love Jill Bolte Taylor.

[00:33:13] Tom: So she has this idea that that adrenaline rush that we get when we have the fight or flight response lasts for about 90 seconds and then it starts to dissipate. So if we can do some breathing, that helps you change your somatics. It helps change, um, the physiology of your response, which will allow you to come back to a normal state and to do some proper thinking.

[00:33:35] Tom: And I think actually. Um, being coached, being, sitting with someone talking about the situation, um, and whether that’s a colleague. I mean, it’s, it’s trickier with other people because sometimes they can increase your anxiety. They’ll say something that’s going Oh God, it’s even worse now. And so I think if you’re being coached and hold, have someone who’s holding that space and you’re just allowed to talk it out, I think that’s another great way to come back to that rest state.

[00:34:00] Tom: And, and that. Interesting, we’re onto, we’re onto, we’re now onto a neuroscience approach, Rachel. We’re, we’re moving through them. So that then,

[00:34:09] Tom: in that stage, you can engage the default mode network of the brain, which is our creative space. So that’s, that’s the space we’re in when we’re daydreaming, but it’s also that space of creativity, it’s a space of empathy, but we can’t go there if we’re in that fight or flight response. So just using your physiology.

[00:34:28] Tom: So and another great way to come back to the that rest and, rest and digest state is to actually do something physical. We’ve spoken before about this I know I’ve heard you speak many times about that, that adrenaline rush and that all sitting in our body and the best way to get rid of it is what we would have done In prehistoric times we would have run, wouldn’t we? We would have done some exercise to escape something and then we’d have been fine. So actually if we just go for a brisk walk or run or whatever exercise you feel inclined to do, then that can bring us back to normal. Sitting with the thoughts whilst we’re in a fight or flight state does nothing to, um, to dispel that, that feeling in our bodies.

[00:35:08] Rachel: That’s hard. And in fact, some of the best coaching sessions I’ve had is when we’ve been walking, interestingly. I’ve got a colleague who does a lot of coaching in nature and she does a lot on the phone with someone else, she’s at a park somewhere, they’re in a park somewhere, they’re walking around. In fact, I was on a sort of, um, a mastermind day last week and we all got out of our seats and went on a, we got into threes, you know, 20 minutes each. We walked around the park. That went so quickly and we all came to some amazing realizations. I think probably just because we were moving our bodies. It was uncanny.

[00:35:40] Tom: Yeah, and I think, I think actually, I don’t want to be, uh, stereotypical here, but I think men find it easier not to sit face to face when they’re being coached. I think they’re better at walking and doing. And I think that, again, has its origins in prehistoric times. So if you think about prehistoric man, he was probably, uh, setting off in the morning for the hunting ground, walking side by side, chatting as they went. And, um, then they would sit behind a hedge looking for antelope. A bit like watching the football, just sitting, looking at, but maybe.

[00:36:09] Rachel: Fishing.

[00:36:10] Tom: Yeah, yeah, absolutely

[00:36:11] Rachel: Golf.

[00:36:12] Tom: Yeah. And then they would obviously… kill an antelope, put it on a pole between them and walk, single file, but probably chatting. And then get home, someone would cook the deer, the antelope, and they would sit gazing into the fire, a bit like watching the TV.

[00:36:27] Tom: So everything is geared up for men to be doing something else whilst talking, and not sitting looking directly at one another. Whereas, uh, prehistoric woman would have been constantly engaging with other people, like with children face to face, everything was face to face. And I think the only time men really came face to face was when they would stand off.

[00:36:50] Rachel: that’s so funny because I, I, you know, I go for lots of cups of tea with my girlfriends and, you know. Every Friday after my circus class, we’re there and my other half’s like, what do you find to talk about? You spend so much time having brunch and cups of tea. I’m like, oh my goodness, we never have enough time. But then he goes and plays golf for four hours. I’m like, what do you find to talk about? He doesn’t equate the fact that he’s walking around the golf course, chatting to his friends that are really important to him. But you know, they’re, they’re hitting balls around, but you know,

[00:37:20] Tom: there was a, uh, initiative started in Ireland, I think it was just called The Shed, where experienced crafts people were teaching young people new skills, but actually talking whilst they’re doing it, and they were using it as a mental health activity. And there’s something about engaged in, being engaged in other activity that frees the mind up just to explore things in, in a way that isn’t offensive. So I think that’s a great way to think about it.

[00:37:45] Rachel: So, so important. And I think We have lost that in healthcare because a lot of stuff is is now on online and we’re just not getting together. We’re not sort of doing things together. I was watching Call the Midwife the other day and just even noticing how they would all be in the sterilizing room and doing all the sterilizing equipment and chatting away.

[00:38:06] Rachel: And we don’t really have that anymore because we all use the disposable stuff and it goes off. And so we’re not doing that regular skills stuff together. We’re either in a room and engaging people on our own, or we’re on our computers doing stuff and it’s, you just don’t get the same type of interaction. So that’s something that we’ve really lost. And I think we. Definitely need to get that back,

[00:38:25] Tom: it is a strange idea, isn’t it, now that you sit in isolation and patients come in and it’s just you and the patients and you don’t get that interaction. And I think it’s not, not just the medical profession, I’ve spoke to lots of teachers that have the same thing, they never leave their classroom. They just don’t have that staff room chatter that they used to have. Everything is so time constrained. Um, and that’s, that is a big problem in the medical world that everything is time pressured. So you don’t feel that you’ve got that opportunity.

[00:38:53] Tom: But you can create those, those times. You can walk into reception and have a chat. I mean, you know, it doesn’t have to be the way that it is.

[00:39:03] Rachel: Tom, if I had a magic wand,

[00:39:04] Rachel: I would wave it

[00:39:05] Rachel: And every, every single practice in this country would have a coffee break together or a lunch break together. And they would all get together and talk. And they can, you don’t, you know, the problem is it, used to get together and divvy out the visits or sign prescriptions, but that’s all electronic now, you know, so you don’t get that task. But honestly, even if everyone just put. Together 10 minutes in a day.

[00:39:26] Rachel: And people say they don’t have time, but believe me, people will get back that time in productivity and well being that they lose for the 10 minutes sitting, talking to their colleagues, really so important.

[00:39:37] Tom: and if, you think about the technology, it was supposed to create time for us, wasn’t it? It’s made everything more efficient, but we’ve just filled that space with other work.

[00:39:45] Rachel: Create time for more work, more work. Tom,

[00:39:48] Rachel: there was one more. type of coaching that you mentioned to me earlier, gestalt coaching. What is that exactly?

[00:39:55] Tom: Yeah, so this comes from gestalt therapy, as most, most coaching approaches come from some sort of therapy, so gestalt therapy was something that’s been around since the 50s but really came to prominence in the 70s. A guy called Fritz Perls and his wife Laura. But really it’s about looking at the whole person and looking at the nature of change and the paradoxical nature of change. In that we don’t necessarily get the change that we aim for, and there’s something about the constant change that we’re going through that emerges.

[00:40:30] Tom: So we will leave this conversation as different people. We’re not the same people when we’ve finished our conversation. Now, we don’t aim to be different people by the end of it, but just by the nature of our conversation, we will be different. Um, and there’s a lovely, I think he’s Epictetus group philosopher, who said that no person can step into the same river twice. That is clearly not the same water, the river is different water flow, but you’re not the same person already having been in the river before. So there’s something about just experience that allows us to, to change and become more who we want to be. So it puts us in touch with our authentic selves.

[00:41:09] Tom: And so a lot of my work now is in that gestalt mode of, well, who are you? And who do you want to be? So actually inviting people to become more who they are than trying to be something else. So we have a lot of those shoulds and musts, well I need to be like this and people aren’t going to like me unless I do this. Gestalt is more about actually being in touch with who you are and who you want to be, being more the person you want to be.

[00:41:32] Tom: Gestalt is also about changing your perspective, creating new perspectives. So there’s a lovely exercise that we can do in Gestalt, which we’ll maybe just try very briefly. So if you can think of a recent situation that you felt uncomfortable in, there’s something going on for you that you felt really uncomfortable about, um, what we can do, if you could just cast your mind back to that situation, and I don’t really need to know the situation, so we’ll just, you, you have it in your head, but if you cast your mind back to that situation, and just think of the room that you were in, and just pick out an object that was in the room with you.

[00:42:11] Rachel: Okay, my bike.

[00:42:12] Tom: Your bike. Okay, your bike. Now, so what I’d like you to do, Rachel, is to become the bike. Okay, so just take on that embodiment of the bike. Um, so you are the bike looking out at that situation and noticing what you’re noticing in that situation.

[00:42:29] Tom: So seeing what you’re seeing, hearing what you’re hearing. And if you look out as the bike, what would you like to tell Rachel about that situation?

[00:42:39] Rachel: don’t get so worked up. It’s not that important. I would say, you were obviously fearful and worried, but it came out as anger and frustration.

[00:42:57] Tom: So what you were noticing as the bike in Rachel with some anger.

[00:43:01] Rachel: very perceptive bike.

[00:43:02] Tom: Yeah, yeah, no, great. But by changing your perspective, and it could be another person, so if you were in conversation with someone, or you’ve got a conversation coming up, or you’ve had a previous conversation that you’re not happy with, you can do that exercise and just become the other person. Bring it into the room. So gestalt is all about bringing whatever is going on for you into the room and addressing it in the room.

[00:43:24] Tom: So I, my very first paid coaching conversation I had, it was a guy at TNT, you know the logistics people. And, uh, he’d been to an assessment centre and they’d given him some development points and said you need to work on these things. So that’s what he came to coaching for. So I sat down in our very first session and I said, what would I talk about? He said, I don’t get on with my boss. Which was big news to me, because that wasn’t what he’d come to coaching for. So, I, he told me about it, he said, I don’t respect him, I don’t, I’ve got more experience than him, I’ve got more knowledge than him, I just don’t really rate him. And I tend to bypass him and go to his director. And I said, OK, and how’s that working out for you? He said, it’s not good, we don’t have a great relationship. It’s very tense.

[00:44:00] Tom: And I said, OK, let’s, let’s go to a conversation that you’ve had with him, in the past, just bring that to mind. And I set up three chairs, this was live, it was a long time ago now. So I set up three chairs in the room. I said, right, sit in the chair you were sitting in. Talk. Tell me what’s going on in that conversation. So he talked it through as though he was sitting. I said, now go and sit in Justin’s chair. That was his manager. I said, talk it through as though you were Justin. And he did that. And then I said, now sit in an observer’s chair and tell me what’s going on between the two. And he did that. He just, in the way that you’ve just done with the bike, he just told me what he noticed.

[00:44:31] Tom: And then he came back to the coaching chair and he sat for a moment and he said, it’s me, isn’t it? And he just had that revelation that he was, he was the problem. His boss wasn’t doing anything. His boss didn’t have that much experience and didn’t have that much knowledge. That wasn’t a reason for him to behave the way he was behaving.

[00:44:49] Tom: So, so really, you know, I had six sessions with him, but the job was done in a quarter of an hour. It was all done and dusted. So it’s a great way to get people to, to encourage people to think about things from a different perspective.

[00:45:03] Rachel: I was going to ask about self awareness and how do we increase someone’s self awareness, but I think you’ve, you just answered that really nicely because my experience of, of coaching is, is really good for self awareness. But

[00:45:17] Rachel: occasionally there have been people that. I wouldn’t ever describe them as uncoachable, but they were really tough to coach and they were really not wanting to, or I don’t know whether it’s not wanting to or unable to see things from other people’s perspective or unable to see how they might have been part of the problem. What, what do you do when you have somebody a bit like that?

[00:45:39] Tom: Well, I guess this brings up the question of whether everyone is coachable and, and I think everyone is coachable, but they have to want to be coached. So they have to come as an authentic person and present themselves as they are, rather than putting a mask on. And I did have one coaching client who just wore a mask. and when I kind of brought that to his attention. I said, I just feel like I’m not getting to see the real you, he went, well, and then it all started to happen after that. But there’s something about noticing what’s going on in the room.

[00:46:09] Tom: So if you are noticing someone being perhaps defensive, just saying, I’m noticing that we’re not really moving forward with this. And there seems to be some resistance. And I’m just curious about what, what’s going on for you. And, so it’s not a judgment. It’s just noticing what you’re noticing. And just, I think once people Realize that you’re there to support them and that you’re not there sitting in judgment. You’re not their manager, you’re not going to be telling them off. You’re not going to be saying that’s outrageous. You’re there to support them, then I think they will open up.

[00:46:38] Tom: But in terms of that seeing things from other people’s perspective, I think things like the empty chair exercise are a great way to, uh, to explore that in a way that’s not, it’s not confrontational, it’s just an exercise. It’s just a bit of fun, really. And I think people will go there.

[00:46:53] Tom: It’s amazing what people will do when you invite them to, Oh, just sit in these three different chairs. And you know, he was, I don’t know, he was quite a hard nosed manager. He wasn’t, uh, yeah, I didn’t, didn’t know whether he was going to take to it. And that’s the other thing that when we talk about bestiality coaching, it’s all about experimenting and just trying things.

[00:47:10] Rachel: I think that that’s making me think about actually who is the best person to coach somebody. And I know that I will never now coach anybody who I know personally, because I have too much .Interference because what you want in a coach is someone with, well, a unconditional positive regard, who really sees you and all your potential, but doesn’t have all the baggage from knowing what you’re like or knowing who your, partner is or the kids or that what you’re doing and. And I guess as a mentor, you can know a bit more about that person, but as a coach, it is quite nice to be completely independent so you can be completely on that, well on that person’s side is, is probably the wrong, the wrong phrase, because you’re not sort of on anyone’s side, but you are really wanting to help that person and seeing, helping see things from their perspective and

[00:47:55] Tom: Yeah, I think I tend to be, obviously, you know, my business is called Your Coaching Journey and it’s called that for a reason, because I do see each coaching relationship as a journey, and I see myself walking alongside someone. In the way that you described walking around the park, I’m walking with them whilst they carry on on their journey and I’m exploring their situation with them. So we, you know, there’s no good or bad, it’s just, it is what it is and we’re, we are trying to figure it out together and co-create something that better for the future.

[00:48:25] Rachel: So Tom, give us your, your three top tips about how we even just start to take a coaching approach.

[00:48:31] Tom: Well, I think we have to start, I think the first tip is to start with that listening and just if you’re gonna have a conversation with someone that is important enough for you to sit and take your time to engage with them, just make sure you’re listening. And don’t, you know, if it is with a colleague, don’t have your laptop, don’t be on your phone scrolling whilst you’re talking. Just take the time to engage with them and actually listen and have a conversation. So that’s my first tip. I think that goes a long way to solving a lot of miscommunication in any environment, is actually just people taking the time to listen.

[00:49:05] Tom: I think secondly, uh, If you don’t know what you want, how do you ask for it? So actually stop to think about what it is you want. Again, in any situation that you’re entering. So if you’re about to have a meeting with the practice manager about your working patterns, know what you want before you go into the meeting. Because how do you ask for it if you don’t? You’re probably going to get their view of the world, and they’re probably going to tell you what’s going to happen if you don’t know what you want.

[00:49:31] Tom: And I think, the third tip is once you know what you want, what you really want for yourself and your family and everyone else around you, just to be able to work backwards from that, and know how you can get there too. So, work back to the very first step you’re going to take. And it might be that that’s all you focus on to start with, is taking that one step.

[00:49:49] Tom: And I do, I do a lovely exercise when I’m with groups where I will ask them to write the problem on one side of a piece of paper, and the solution on the other side of the piece of paper, and fold it in half so you’ve got two sides. Then rip it up, throw the problem away and just have the solution. So the next step is the solution that you’re going to work towards. So one step you can take, forget everything else, just work towards that next step.

[00:50:12] Rachel: love it. Little, little tiny, tiny steps. And you can do that for yourself or you can ask other people. And yeah, I think my, my top tip would be very, very similar. I would say, do you just start to take a coaching approach even, and we talk about this in the courses, even if someone comes to ask you your advice and you just sit on your hands and you think, and you say to them, well, I’ve got some ideas, but first of all, what do you think you could do? What solutions have you come up with? And that often they’ll come up with a solution, saving you a whole heap of pain in the first place.

[00:50:43] Tom: Yeah. One of the problems in taking that approach is that sometimes they go, Well, I haven’t actually thought about it yet. It’s like, sometimes it’s a shortcut for them, isn’t it? Rather than do all that thinking, they’ll just come and ask you because they think you’re going to tell them.

[00:50:57] Tom: But you’re right in the sense that if we don’t give them the answer, hopefully they’ll come up with their solution. But if they don’t, they’ll probably stop coming to you for the answer if you stop giving it to them.

[00:51:09] Rachel: I used to have a boss that would never give me the answer, so we would never go to him unless we’d already thought it through. It saved whole heap of time, but actually it really made us solve it first. And he would always be really, really helpful, but he would always ask us what we, what we’d come up with first. And I think, I think we think it’s, it’s. It’s quicker just to give advice, but it genuinely isn’t. And often you give advice, you give, you give the wrong type of advice, you know, unless it’s something that you can literally just Google.

[00:51:36] Tom: And then they could be Googling it, couldn’t they? They rather than coming and asking you, so.

[00:51:40] Rachel: Yes. There’s a phrase, isn’t there? Would you like me to Google that for you?

[00:51:44] Tom: But we all have that desire to help, don’t we? So we go, oh yeah, no, you do this. So, yes, I think you’re right. I, I think, In terms of working relationships, I think if we could just take that pause and ask them what they think, what thinking they’ve done already and, yeah, if they’ve not, go, well, go away and think about it and come back and we’ll have a proper conversation once you’ve given it some thought.

[00:52:03] Rachel: Absolutely. And just find a listening partner, find someone you can speak to in twos or threes that you can just have that conversation. I have a little group I meet with. We just present a dilemma and our only rule is don’t ask a question you, you know the answer to. So we then, that just gets us to sort of mini coach each other. And then we can make suggestions at the end, which are often really, really helpful.

[00:52:25] Rachel: And I guess my third thing would be if you, if you want to learn to take a coaching approach. Get some coaching yourself. There’s nothing like learning how to do it by having it done to you as it, as it were, and gosh, I have paid a lot of money for coaches in my time and they’ve been worth every single penny. And like you said, there is a lot of, there is a lot of free coaching around, particularly in the NHS. So, so access it. And Tom, it’s wonderful that you guys can offer it for your, you know, your, your course participants to practice. So how could people get hold of you and find out a little bit more?

[00:53:00] Tom: So the website is yourcoachingjourney.com. Uh, so people can go to the website and all my email details, we’re on Facebook, Instagram, uh, LinkedIn, so anywhere where you would normally. access a coach or coaching training, uh, but yourcoachingjourney. com and from there you can find details about our course.

[00:53:21] Rachel: And for those of you that are really interested in actually learning how to coach, I think it’s a really fantastic adjunct to a medical job, or if you’re in another organization, you can work as an internal coach, or it’s something that if you want to start dropping off some of your, um, some of the day job and, and expanding your portfolio career. I think it goes really, really nicely with other stuff. And, and Tom, can you tell us a little bit about your course? Firstly, why is it specifically just for doctors?

[00:53:52] Tom: I, I find that doctors come, well certainly the doctors, I mean everyone is self selecting aren’t they? So they, they come because of that type of person. But the people that come, the doctors that come, just get it. They get it in a way. So when I first started my course, it was just an open course. And we actually had Sarah Golding and Caroline Walker on that very first course, um, we, you know, very well.

[00:54:13] Rachel: Guests on the podcast, check it out, yeah.

[00:54:15] Tom: And they just got it in a way that I was thinking there’s something going on here. So I had a word with Caroline, and said. You know, does, is this a thing? And , I said, yeah, def, go for it. I, you, you might get, you might fill a course. Uh, which we did, and now we’re on cohort 28, so we have small numbers. So we, we only ever have between six and nine. We cut it off at nine. Um, so we, we know that that works in terms of the dynamics of the cohort, it works really. Well and, and bringing doctors together, they get so much out of the course in terms of just that bonding and having some form of shared experience. You know, we don’t have any hierarchy stuff going on. It’s just everyone comes, new to coaching, so they’re all at the beginning of their coaching journey. So everyone’s on a level playing field, but they all have that. They understand each other’s worlds and they’re able to relate to it. and able to support each other.

[00:55:07] Tom: So over the six months, everyone gets to know each other really well. Um, well, you, you came to our last conference, so you know, you know, we had a room full of coaching doctors that. Just got on famously. So they’re kind of making friends for life, which I think is great. You know, if, if, if nothing else was achieved, then that’s a great,

[00:55:26] Rachel: If nothing else a lovely bunch of friends. Yes, absolutely.

[00:55:29] Tom: But what, what we’re told by the people coming off the course is that they, and we get a few people that have already done a coaching course before, so they think they know how to do it. Um, we do a lot of practice and we encourage them to do practice between them. So that’s, yeah. The experiential part of it is key to embedding those core skills. Because we can know that listening and asking open questions and playing back is useful, but whether we actually do it or not when it comes to a coaching session is different. So the fact that they do so much practice and I’m, you know, I’m quite hot on picking them up if they’re not doing it right. So, you know, they do get to give each other feedback and they, they do.

[00:56:10] Tom: So by the end of the six months they are doing it. Swimmingly, everything is going great and they’re ready. So they’re feeling confident and competent to go out there and have coaching sessions. And as I said, they then do their 20 hours of practice.

[00:56:22] Tom: Uh, so, as I said, one of the other key differences that we have to a lot of other courses is the variety of approaches that we take. So, as I said, I’m an integrative coach, so I will mix and match all additions. Um, approaches depending on who’s sitting in front of me and what their situation is. Um, but we cover all of those approaches and, and give, we really would pick it with cherry picking the bits from those approaches that work. You know, you don’t want to learn everything about gestalt but there’s a couple of key things that you want to be able to draw out and using your coaching. So that’s what we try to do.

[00:56:55] Rachel: I love that. I love that aspect rather than it being like a massively deep dive into one thing and you just learn that one technique, I think. Well, in my own practice, it’s been so helpful. Like you said, to cherry pick the most useful stuff from lots of different things. So that, that’s a fantastic thing. And Tom, is it online or face to face or a mixture of both?

[00:57:13] Tom: Yeah, it’s all online. So we, we have an online portal where we have the theoretical material. So before each workshop, we have a learning, uh, module, that so people can, in the introductory module, they learn the basics of coding. So then when they come to the introductory workshop, they put that into practice, so it’s all very interactive in the workshop.

[00:57:33] Tom: You know, I think we can all get a little bit twitchy about spending time online, but actually, if, if you plan it right and you get everyone engaged, it just flies by. And that’s, that’s the, I guess, the proof in the pudding that people just get, they get to half one in the afternoon and go, Oh gosh, is it that time already?

[00:57:49] Tom: So it’s, yeah. So, so the, a module online, they come together for workshop. There’s 11 online modules, 11 workshops, um, and so that all happens over around six months. And, uh, yeah, and so the results that we’re getting, the testimonials we’re getting are great. People are really loving the course.

[00:58:07] Tom: Yeah, so we’ve got courses starting in, um, September. Uh, so we have a, we’re trialling an evening course. Um, so that’s going to be on Thursday evenings. And then we’re going to have a Thursday morning course as well. So if people are a little bit busy during the day, they’ve got that opportunity in

[00:58:23] Rachel: That’s absolutely fantastic, Tom. And we sort of partnered up and you’re, um, very kindly offering a discount to some of our list. Well, to any of our listeners who want to, to come on.

[00:58:33] Tom: Yeah, absolutely. So 20% discount off the, uh, we say? Recommended retail? Whatever that. Whatever the advertised price is, you get 20% off. But, I forget, it’s Frogspawn isn’t it? The, uh, the

[00:58:46] Rachel: Yes, go on. Just click on the link in the show notes, code frogspawn, frogspawn, or tell Tom that, tell Tom that you heard him on the podcast and you’ll, you’ll get that discount. And I would thoroughly recommend this course. You know, I, I, I did my coaching course before your course existed, Tom, and I have heard so many good things about it from, from doctors. And I, I, I know that when I did my coaching course, you have a sort of baseline of communication skills that maybe other people don’t necessarily have. So you can sort of jump over that sort of stuff. And also doctors need something really practical to, they need to practice. They, they need to get feedback on stuff. And I think that’s what your course does really, really well is the really practical aspect of that. So just, yeah, encourage people to check it out. And presumably you’ve got other cohorts starting throughout the year, not just September.

[00:59:33] Tom: Yep, so we, uh, tend to do one a month. I mean, we take the summer off, but we tend to roll it round and have one cohort starting each month. We’re just picking up in the autumn, getting off to a fly and start running two together.

[00:59:46] Tom: But yeah, so we’re very welcome to hear from any doctors who are interested, and I’m happy to have a chat online with them, video call with them, just to tell them about the course and see what they’re trying to, what they want to achieve in doing the course.

[00:59:58] Rachel: Tom, we’re going to have to have you back and hear a little bit more about, you know, how to take a coaching approach, what to do, how to get coaching yourself, et cetera, et cetera. So it’d be wonderful to have you back at some point, but thank you so much for being on with us today.

[01:00:12] Tom: Thank you Rachel. Yeah, no, I’d be delighted to come back at any time. So yeah, feel free to ask, but uh, no, it’s been lovely and again, bit like I was saying about the course it has flown by, it doesn’t seem so long since we started, and isn’t that the lovely thing about having proper conversations with people about, uh, stuff that matters?

[01:00:29] Rachel: Thanks for listening. Don’t forget, we provide a self coaching CPD workbook for every episode. You can sign up for it via the link in the show notes. And if this episode was helpful, then please share it with a friend. Get in touch with any comments or suggestions at hello@youarenotafrog.com, I love to hear from you. And finally, if you’re enjoying the podcast, please rate it and leave a review wherever you’re listening. It really helps. Bye for now.