New veterinary retreat helps vets build resilience and improve wellbeing

EMERGE Veterinary, part of the Veterinary Business Consultancy, has announced the dates and released tickets for the Change Catalyst Veterinary Retreat. Held at Roaches Hall, a beautiful gritstone manor house on the Derbyshire/Staffordshire border, this residential personal wellbeing retreat for vets will be held 15-17th May 2018. Following the course, participants will receive three months of personal 1-2-1 coaching.  

Working in partnership with Natural Change, a social enterprise with over two decades of study and course delivery in the field, the Change Catalyst Veterinary Retreat draws on the well-established fields of eco-psychology, group dynamics and outdoor learning.

The 2-day Retreat is held in a beautiful setting and, working mainly outside, participants will be expertly guided through a series of activities and practices that draw on the transformative potential of nature. They will be introduced to some simple, yet highly effective, nature based techniques to look after their wellbeing and to reflect on their personal or professional journey. Three months of personal coaching after the event will help reinforce and embed these changes or assist in developing the insights gained during the retreat.  

Quite unlike any other personal development courses offered to vets, this course is aimed at vets who are at a career crossroads, making major decisions about the direction of their career or for those looking for an opportunity to help develop capacity, build resilience and to improve wellbeing. It offers time and space to get away from everyday concerns, re-energise and focus on what really matters as well as helping vets reflect, refresh and reconnect with nature. 

A maximum of 16 participants will work with two facilitators to ensure an exceptional quality of experience and the whole process is gently and expertly facilitated and supported. The follow up coaching is one to one, personal, and confidential.

Director, Adrian Nelson-Pratt comments, “Vets have well documented challenges with work-life balance that lead to a disconnection from the natural world. Feelings of isolation, loss of career direction or in the worst-case, deterioration in physical and mental health can follow. Having experienced the Natural Change process myself, I found it a deeply reflective and restorative experience. It allowed me the time and space to develop some new ideas and to re-invigorate myself. The Change Catalyst Vet Retreat is the result of this process for me and I think it’s a powerful tool to support vets on a personal and professional level. It’s also an appropriate contribution to your annual CPD requirement. ” 

Tickets are available at www.emerge-veterinary.com or for more information and to arrange a chat, contact adrian@emerge-veterinary.com

Vet leadership Survey: Thank you for your insights!

Thank you all!

Our Veterinary Leadership Survey has now closed. With nearly 200 vets having a look and 166 completed surveys, we’re really pleased with the response. Your insights and answers will help design a course to address leadership, mental health and wellbeing issues in the profession.

We’ve drawn the winners of the prizes and emails are winging their way to you today. Keep an eye on your inbox to see if you’ve won.

It’s great to see the responses and whilst the picture painted reinforces some of the profession’s challenges, there’s inspiration and insight galore. We are crunching the data now and you’ll start to see statistics and PR on the subject from us later in the summer.

For those that have signed up to learn more about the project, we’ll start communicating more details in August.

Once again thanks, it’s great when the profession pulls together to pay it forward for the next generation of vets.

If you’d like to talk to the VBC in advance of the programme, please contact us here.

Veterinary Leadership Survey: Your insights could change lives!

Veterinary mental health and wellbeing is big news and if you are a vet, your insights could help design interventions. Complete this short survey & we’ll enter you in to a prize draw!

Veterinary Leadership Survey

In fact, veterinary mental health and wellbeing is such a hot topic at the moment that there was a full edition of the Journal of Veterinary Medical Education dedicated to it recently[1].

In the introduction, Professor Susan Rhind from the University of Edinburgh talks about moving from studying the rain to studying the umbrella. At the VBC we take this to mean moving from focusing on the problem to being solution orientated. We’re really excited to offer you a chance to participate in designing umbrellas, figuratively speaking.

One of our clients is about to launch a personal development project for vets and vet nurses. They’re offering a chance to win a bottle of bubbly in return for completing a short survey[2].

Complete the survey here.

Your insights and comments will be incorporated into the planning of the programme and could help change veterinary mental health for the better. That could literally be a lifesaver for a vet who is struggling.

A test event will run later in 2017. If you’d like to keep up to date on progress, then the survey gives you chance to opt-in for emails too.

In anticipation of your support for this project the VBC and our client would like to thank you in and invite you to keep in touch with the project.

If you’d like to talk to the VBC in advance of the programme, please contact us here.

[1] http://jvme.utpjournals.press/toc/jvme/44/1

[2] Ts & Cs apply- Prize draw is open to UK and Ireland respondents only, but all insights are welcomed from around the world.

The five things you need to do to get an industry vet job

I was asked to do a live Q&A for a Facebook vet group called Vets: Stay, Go or Diversify this week on the subject of how to get a job in veterinary industry. The forum is a hotbed of discussions and this was a recurring question.

The forum is a closed group for vets only, established by Ebony Escalona, a vet from The Brook, a global equine charity. Ebony has done a fabulous job building a diverse group of over 1,600 vets and growing. The level of peer support is great and contributions come from experienced vets giving freely of time and expertise. If you’re a vet, check it out and join the conversation.

Why was I asked? Well, after fifteen years at Hill’s Pet Nutrition, I’ve been thoroughly trained in competency based interviewing and have interviewed hundreds of people for jobs in the business, whether vets or not. Here are my five top tips for getting a job in veterinary industry and I start with a bonus question that you must answer for yourself first.

Why do you want a job in industry?

Everyone knows that many vets reach a point in their veterinary careers where clinical work ceases to satisfy for one reason or another. Industry is an escape from practice, but that’s not the right reason to go for an industry job. Please reflect carefully on your reasons for wanting an industry role and make sure you want it for the right reasons, not just because it offers a route out of practice. Be honest with yourself or others will find you out and you’ll remain unfulfilled in your vet career.

Here goes:

  1. Do your company research and network with those reps in your clinic

2. Be on LinkedIn and have an All Star Profile

vet industry jobs 1

3. Register with the recruiters that vet industry companies use

4. Have a differentiated CV and covering letter

vet industry jobs 2

5. Do your interview prep properly; because it’s unlikely you’ve had this kind of   interview before.

vet industry jobs 3

The recording will be live on the forum shortly and it’s loaded with more detail and a number of great questions from the audience on the night.

If you need help with your CV, preparing for an industry job or interview technique, then the VBC can help. Get in touch and we’ll help you maximize your chances of landing your job in industry.

When you say coaching or mentoring, what do you really mean?

As the profession moves forward in the personal development that we sorely need, have you noticed that the terminology is changing as well? Words like development or support in job adverts and articles are being replaced with better sounding words like coaching, mentoring and consultancy. It’s especially important as vet businesses strive to differentiate themselves in the race to recruit new vets or to describe their company culture, values and space for personal growth.

However, as I speak to colleagues who operate in the coaching space, see adverts for academies or courses and indeed as I promote my consultancy services to vets and companies, I’m noticing a worrying trend. As a profession, we seem to be using coaching and mentoring interchangeably and this is a problem, because they’re very different activities and its all about one thing.

The amount of input from the facilitator and the client.

In a coaching or mentoring relationship there are generally two parties. Both provide input to the conversation, but depending upon the activity, one side provides more input than the other.

In a classic Harvard Business Review article in the spring of 1973, Robert Tannenbaum and Warren Schmidt described a continuum of leadership and management styles. They used a simple diagram to illustrate different styles of leadership and how much influence the boss or employee contributed to the discussion. It’s a seminal article to read as part of any leadership journey and a must read for managers seeking to understand how to empower and motivate staff.

The same continuum can be used to illustrate the relationship between consultancy, mentoring and coaching, so I’ve redrawn it below to help frame this discussion.

Coaching vs Mentoring

In my consultancy business, I’m paid for my expertise and knowledge in the field, for problem solving or I’m paid to do something that clients can’t do themselves. That’s how I add the value and it’s a directive process led by me.

In a mentoring relationship, the mentor provides advice and guidance and may well provide some coaching in addition, but that’s not the primary role. It’s a 50/50 relationship where the mentee assimilates the advice and synthesizes something new with it.

In coaching, advice isn’t given and the primary objective is to help a client improve performance to reach a goal. A coach will operate in a non-directive manner by asking questions and using various different tools to help the client draw out or crystalise their own thinking. Skills and independence are assumed in the coachee and you often find a secondary benefit of increasing self awareness.

So when we use mentoring and coaching interchangeably, we inevitably change the relationship between the facilitator and client. When most people think of a coach, they think of a classic sports coach that helps develop additional skills. This is training and skills acquisition and not the kind of coaching I’m talking about. If you think of more recent coaching examples, e.g. Dr Steve Peters1 with cycling stars like Sir Chris Hoy or Victoria Pendleton or Dr Dave Aldred2 coaching Jonny Wilkinson, it wasn’t their ability to do the sport that was important, it was their coaching skill that unlocked the potential of the athlete to perform.

I’m absolutely sure that this is an innocent mistake made by well meaning people when seeking to describe the support given to their teams, but it sets up a potential mismatch between employees and their employer and perpetuates one of our challenges in developing ourselves as vets. We find ourselves asking the question, “What could a non-veterinary coach know about my world and therefore do to help me?” We limit our thinking and performance.

It doesn’t matter what a coach knows about your world, because they’re not there to help you with advice. They’re there to help develop your performance and that’s a skill in it’s own right.

So if you are an employer, consider what you’re offering and if you’re a job seeker or employee, consider what you need. Sometimes the support you need is knowledge based, to grow your capabilities and become consciously competent at doing something in your job role. That means you need a mentor. Other times, you’ll be consciously competent already and you need support to improve your performance or to meet a goal. This is a coaching need. Without a goal to work towards, coaching doesn’t work.

Many vets I know would benefit from coaching, either personally, as a small business owner or for building and developing teams. I know I benefited from both a coach and a mentor at my old job and in fact I still do. It’s our blind spot and we owe it to ourselves to recognize this and act on it.

Get in touch with the VBC and we’ll be able to help. If we can’t provide the service ourselves, then we know someone who can.

  1. The Chimp Paradox by Dr Steve Peters
  2. The Pressure Principle by Dr Dave Aldred