If you’re feeling uncertain about how to proceed with your medical career or are thinking of pursuing a non clinical career as a doctor, it can be a frightening and lonely time. Choosing a career is for most people on the same scale as choosing a long term relationship, and you need to be sure that you are in safe hands if you seek professional help. If you are considering medical career planning, medical career coaching or career counselling for doctors, here are ten things you should know to help you choose the right expert medical career counsellor so that you can move forwards with your career with confidence:
- Coaching and career counselling is an unregulated industry so you need to be sure your coach is properly qualified. If you are thinking of a change in direction, you should use a career counsellor who is trained in evidence based structured approaches to help you to be clear on your next move. This means that they are trained as a ‘career counsellor’ by a recognised awarding body, or as an occupational psychologist specialising in careers: this is in addition to general career coaching qualifications (ILM5) or executive coaching (ILM7).
- You will want to know how many clients in similar positions to yourself they have worked with and how many hours of career coaching and career counselling they have: this should be formally logged and recorded.
- All work as a coach or career counsellor should be supervised: you can ask to see their records of their supervision and also a statement from their supervisor confirming these dates. The EMCC recommends a minimum of 1 hour supervision for every 35 hours client work.
- They should be a member of a recognised coaching professional body such as the EMCC or ICF. These organisations will have complaints procedures and governance processes in place and also codes of ethics for your coach to follow. In addition, their coaching practice should be independently accredited by their professional body – similar to medical revalidation.
- You will want to make sure that any medical career coach or medical career counsellor has professional indemnity insurance as well as public liability insurance and you can ask to see evidence of this.
- Anyone working in the field of coaching should have a strong evidence based theoretical framework underpinning their coaching practice. You should expect an undergraduate or postgraduate degree in psychology and/ or a masters level qualification in human behaviour change if you want to work with someone who is an expert in their field and whom you can trust to have a deep understanding of the complexities of human behaviour. You should also expect the coach to be undertaking sufficient CPD.
- Confidentiality and data protection are key matters for anyone working with a medical career coach or medical career counsellor. You should expect your coach to be registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office as a data controller, and also to have clear a clear position on both confidentiality and data protection.
- Coaching and career counselling should take place within a contract. This is both a legal contract and a psychological contract. Ask to see a copy of the contract before you fully commit to working with a career coach.
- You may wish to work with a coach who has significant expertise in the area of medical careers. Coaching for doctors requires a deep understanding of the complexities and challenges of doctors’ careers and professional lives.
- All these tips above should help you to feel more confident in choosing an expert medical career coach and career counsellor for doctors. The final tip is that of trust. You should feel wholly confident that your investment in a coach will lead to long term career satisfaction and that you can fully trust the coach to be professional, competent and alongside you every step of the way.
Dr Fiona Day (MBChB, FFPH, Dip Occ Med, Executive Coach) coaches Doctors to improve their careers, working lives, and leadership roles. Find out more at www.fionadayconsulting.co.uk; to explore working with Fiona please book a confidential half hour Career Consultation here.