My interest in supporting colleagues to ‘reach their full potential ‘was sparked many years ago listening to my mum speaking to a colleague about a training programme they were organising for counsellors working for Marriage Care, a charitable organisation that offered Couples therapy. They were discussing Egan’s “Skilled Helper” model and as they explained it to me I realised that despite my mum’s background being not in dentistry, but in education she had used her listening and questioning skills when I was struggling in my first year in practice, to help me find my own solutions to get the support I needed at a potentially precarious time in my career.
I went on to help run two practices with my husband and was a Foundation trainer for several years. I took on the role of Postgraduate Dental Tutor in 2002 as I recognised that for me a “portfolio” career would help me manage the stresses and strains of working in General practice and help me grow my skill set. My desire to be a better Tutor, Trainer, “HR manager” and dentist saw me complete multiple post graduate qualifications in the fields of Dentistry, Medical Education, Coaching and Mentoring and NLP. For the past ten years I have worked as an Associate in practice part time and this enabled me to increase my role with the Postgraduate Dental team at Health Education England. I work across the West Midlands to help facilitate the CPD programme and act as one of the lead mentors supporting colleagues returning to work after a career break, dentists meeting Performer List conditions and those colleagues who find themselves in difficulty with the regulatory bodies. Over the past few years I have been fortunate to be involved in facilitating 2 and 3-day Coaching and Mentoring programmes for dental trainers, educators and managers, in Primary and Secondary Dental Care services and helped create a register of dental mentors across the West Midlands. We have also created a package of resources and processes to support these mentoring relationships.
Surviving thirty years in Dentistry, running a practice, parenting five teenagers and supporting colleagues who face challenges has taught me that given the time to explore and think we all have the resources within us to find our own solutions to challenges. If we have someone sitting beside us when we are facing these challenges it can help us not only manage the issues but grow, develop and learn at the same time. I have had the fortune to be surrounded by colleagues and family inside and outside the profession who have listened, supported and encouraged me throughout my career. They believed in me and I believe in the colleagues I support and hope that I can “help people become better at helping themselves in their everyday lives.” (Egan G., 'The Skilled Helper', 1998).