I first started working with Baz three years ago, at a time when my roles were changing and developing rapidly. Although I have had a lot of professional development, I had never had any leadership development, so that was why I started the coaching sessions with Baz through the NHS Leadership Academy.

Initially, I felt I had a lot of development needs; many areas of my role were challenging. Baz talked me through various leadership approaches and I started to appreciate how I could and should adapt my styles to suit the situation. Baz has a way of challenging my thinking without undermining my confidence so that I can take on board what he is suggesting and process it. The reflective process following one of our discussions is often as valuable as the actual coaching session.

We tend to meet every 2 – 3 months and talk through issues I am facing at the time. Looking back, I can see how I have broadened my approach to leadership and how the things that were challenging 2 years ago, are now much easier. I can also see how as I have developed, Baz has kept pace so that I am always learning, always moving on to the next step. I am not sure if all coaches would have been able to shift gears so easily.

One of the best things I did with Baz was a full 360 degree feedback. I was anxious about the feedback I would get but in fact, the process was incredibly helpful. A year on, we are repeating the process so that I can see what’s changed and also what needs to change.

Coaching has helped me have the resources to tackle difficult conversations and achieve better outcomes. It’s now easier for me to get below the surface and open a conversation up so that it becomes more honest and as a result, more effective.

Baz’s focus has been on leadership styles and how to interact with my colleagues and peers more successfully. He has been a fundamental part of my development and effectiveness.

Dr Sam Barrell

Chief Clinical Officer South Devon & Torbay CCG

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