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Career coach

GPs who reach a sticking point in their careers may benefit from outside help to set them in the right direction, advises Professor Ruth Chambers

GPs who reach a sticking point in their careers may benefit from outside help to set them in the right direction, advises Professor Ruth Chambers

Do it yourself first

• Before you go for the more intensive career coaching or counselling, glean as much careers information as you can – online or from people who can give you personal insights about opportunities you're interested in.

• Try the Royal Colleges websites (such as www. rcgp.org.uk/careers) and those relevant to your interests, such as occupational medicine (www.facoccmed.ac.uk); or a university or deanery website for more local information.

Then to coaching...

• Coaches work through one-to-one conversations with you, in person or by e-mail or telephone. You will focus on your strengths and see for yourself what is stopping you from progressing as far or as fast in your career as you might do.

• Look for a life coach with loads of experience and a professional qualification such as clinical psychology, occupational psychology, a diploma in counselling, Master Practitioner in Neuro Linguistic Programming or psychotherapy. You might prefer a coach who has worked in the NHS or value the independence of a coach from outside your field.

• Can someone you know recommend a particular coach? Look at reliable websites (such as coachfederation.org) which can match you with accredited coaches and give you more information about what to expect, or contact a coach directly (try luminessence.net or jo@luminessence.net) or try career coaching by e-mail with the long established Medical Forum (medicalforum.com).

Have an initial trial and see if you click – if so, you're off and away.

...or career counselling

• A career counsellor will enable you to evaluate your current situation and identify what steps are needed in order to change. They will work with you to do an in-depth analysis of your situation, and identify your strengths and weaknesses in relation to various work options or career choices. You might find a reliable career counsellor via your local postgraduate deanery or a private careers service (try applebyassociates.com).

Professor Ruth Chambers is director of postgraduate GP education/associate head of primary care, Workforce Deanery, NHS West Midlands SHA

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