Role and context
The salaried GP works in a North London practice that serves 10,500 people in the local community. They have been a trained GP for ten years but have only worked in their current practice since January 2020 and was very new to the role when the COVID-19 lockdown started.
The practice received the highest patient contact and e-consultations in the area and was focused on providing their patients with the support that they needed. The GP was asked to be the COVID-19 response lead which “involved putting a lot of systems in place so people knew what to do to respond to the crisis yet maintain the flow of the practice and patient care delivery.” Patients had to be triaged, and consultations were predominantly conducted via the telephone or video consultations.
Challenge of COVID-19 on own wellbeing
The practice had to transform many of their protocols overnight. This was difficult for them, as they were still new at the practice, and had not even met some of the patients they were doing their best to deliver care to. Alongside ensuring patients understood what the implications of COVID-19 meant for patient care, they were also “continuing daily huddles to support practice staff”.
As a result of the continual dynamic and changing situation, starting a new role at a new practice and understanding the expectations of the role as well as trying to build relationships with other members of the practice team, they say: “I wanted to ensure that there was visible leadership throughout this unsettling time. I was overwhelmed by it all.”
How #LookingAfterYouToo coaching helped
Although they had not used coaching before, others in their professional network had spoken very positively of the impact that coaching had for wellbeing and professional practice, and they say: “I always thought that I would try coaching at some point, but COVID-19 accelerated this for me.”
The #LookingAfterYouToo service came at a valuable time as “I was trying to get used to new working dynamics, lead the Covid changes, navigate organisational challenges and learn new ways of working.” They wanted advice on how to ‘open-up’ conversations with the practice partners and managers, and how to ensure that all opinions and perspectives were considered without further aggravating difficult working conditions.
They say: “The coach was hugely interested in what was going on for me, they were incredibly engaged, and asked really insightful probing questions. The coach was able to get to the crux of the situation very quickly, and really did help me to understand that everyone’s perspective is important.”
They reported that the coach was able to provide a range of strategies for helping to develop conversational techniques in difficult situations, including finding a range of commonalities in the situation and looking positively to consider the next steps and working towards solutions.
What was especially appreciated was the flexibility that the coaching provided in terms of what was discussed and when the sessions occurred.
Impact of the coaching
The GP found that the strategies were very easily applicable in the practice and could be applied in a range of situations that they found themselves in “as long as I remembered to keep applying them in situations.” At the time of the conversation the GP had received two sessions, and had booked a third to make sure that they have been implementing all the techniques correctly and how they can ensure that this leads to sustained behaviour change as “the more you use them, the easier it becomes to implement.
“[The virtual coaching] provided the opportunity to take time for myself in what was a very stressful situation … I understand the importance of wellbeing at work, and if it has helped me then it can only be a good thing.”