Doctors, medical leaders and public health leaders of the future will need to be willing to embrace new experiences with openness, be adaptable, and able to creatively flex their behavioural responses on a moment-by-moment basis. They will also need a helpful dose of anticipatory anxiety. to ensure that safe-to-experiment risks are taken in the face of complexity and chaos, to be low on the need to control others or their environment, to have technical expertise, and excellent individual and team coaching skills. Oh – and to take care of themselves and their loved ones, and to enjoy the process along the way!
No mean feat!
Even for the world’s brightest and best this is no easy job role. How on earth do we support and develop our doctors, medical and public health leaders to become increasingly competent at the skills required of them and to develop their capability to lead in this way? The answer is through heutagogy, the science of self-determined learning.
Heutagogy – the science of self-determined learning
Heutagogical approaches to learning are steadily replacing historical methods such as pedagogy and androgogy. They place the learner and their specific, unique needs at the heart of the learning process. Some examples of the key elements include:
- the learner designs their own learning content and chooses the process they wish to follow
- a flexible, adaptable curriculum
- individualised learning with flexible, negotiated, or ideally self-assessment
- the use of experiential learning techniques
- the development of metacognition.
These are a small number of aspects of self-determined learning.
Creating self-determined learners through expert coaching
Creating self-determined learners is a vital element of leadership development. Expert coaching using coaching psychology is the single most heutagogical approach to leadership development. The process of engaging in coaching for doctors and coaching for public health leaders supports the development of self-determined learning as a capability – a meta-competency – to ensure the leader is also a self-determined learner who is skilled at using their own agency to effect change in their professional lives.
Dr Fiona Day is an expert Coaching Psychologist specialising in the leadership, careers and wellbeing of doctors, medical and public health leaders. She is a former medical and public health leader, is based in the UK and works internationally.