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Lucy Buxton, nurse, coach and an NLP practitioner

Adult social care

Can you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your current role?

I’m Lucy Buxton, I’m a nurse, a coach and an NLP practitioner. I work for myself and have my own consultancy, which I have had this for three years now. This is with either social care providers or NHS trusts. I have also done a lot of quality and compliance work throughout my career. Over the last 18 months I have transitioned more into coaching. That is where I retrained in NLP, Hypnosis and Time line Therapy ®. Over the Summer this year I will be training to become an NLP Master practitioner and a trainer so I will also be able to train people to learn what I have learned, which will be fantastic!

My niche is specifically people who work within the NHS or in social care, or businesses trusts in either. The idea is to be able to give people the skills that I have learned. As an example, one of the things we learn is how to create rapport. This will be fantastic for a GP meeting a new patient, or a care home trying to sell a bed. If they can immediately create rapport then that automatically puts that other person at ease full. One of the other things we learn is around values. How you can use values through recruitment for building brilliant teams and therefore sustained brilliant cultures for example.

Why is coaching so vital to social and health providers?

I think the way things have always been done don’t work anymore. I think it’s always been a done to not working with approach. A lot of roles are not well paid and people do it because they love what they do and for the people that they care for. To be able to do that effectively, you need to be able to do that in the right environment. With the right team and the right leadership, rather than management. Leadership is different to management. To get the best out of people so that they can enable other people to be the best they can be, they have to be in that right environment, right culture. You can’t have a culture of bullying, micromanagement or constant performance management. It doesn’t work.

People actually have massive potential. It’s about being able to enable them to be the best that they can be. That can be done through growth, empowerment and coaching. Coaching is a forward moving process. It’s a case of not sitting in the problem. It’s also very empowering, it enables that person to see their own options and see where they want to go. Also, how they can be inspired and have a creative vision.

What inspired you to become a coach?

I think it’s always been there. I’m a bit like a stick of rock, if you cut me down the middle there’s nurse in there! What I realised is that there is coaching there too. I have always been the one that has had an inquiring mind. I’ve always wanted to know what is at the back of things, what is driving that behaviour or action? I also went through a difficult period in my life a few years ago. There were changes in my role, those changes and I weren’t in the same ‘place’ and my personal world fell apart at the same time.

I have an inner resilience that I have built from my experiences, and I give from those places. I knew I had the ability to get people to be the best that they can be.

How can coaching develop leadership, for managers?

First of all, it’s very much about getting people to be in their best resourceful state. We can either be at an effect of a situation, so if something happens externally, we get upset or we get stressed or panicked or fearful. We were affected. Then we have an action or behaviour, we react.

When we experience something externally, we can make it so we can remain in a good resourceful state, with a good resource for feeling, like “how do I deal with this?” or “what do I need to come up with, what do I need to do with this?” We can respond we don’t react.

Forward moving process

The coaching that I do is a forward moving process, with the goal in mind. It’s about ensuring people have the opportunity to let go of any negative emotions that they have collected all their life, and that they have never dealt with. We always say that you have to let go of emotions quite often. You have to feel them, process them, and let go of them.

Certainly, over the last 18 months people have not had the opportunity to let go of those emotions. It has been one thing after another, after another, after another! With lots of different layers; a lot of those emotions are still sitting there but we don’t know about it. We also collect them; so, it’s very much about helping people let that go; to process things and change the way the unconscious mind works; so that they get into a better, more productive mindset.

You might have been run by fear for a long time, and we then become fearful of everything. We can change that to realise that actually we don’t need to be fearful of everything. And help people to move forward and to pass that point; with goals, through metaphors and re framing things. Actually, getting people to realise what they want and taking the positive steps to achieve it.

“Valuing ourselves and learning to be comfortable with who we are”

I think also there are so many things that we are exposed to as children. Also, what society says, what social media says. It’s about things like valuing ourselves and learning to be comfortable with who we are. And realising that people are not their behaviours and actions. Just because somebody is cross or angry that doesn’t mean that they are cross and angry necessarily at me. It could be fear, it could be sadness, they could be feeling guilty. It’s changing the way that you want to understand how you work as a person and how other people work. And learning to respect one another.

Asking someone to change, or to want to change is massive. That change is acknowledgement that you are saying you don’t want this anymore, I can’t be ‘this way’ anymore, I want to change. It’s difficult for someone to work through how they have been for a long time, to stepping outside their comfort zone and challenging themselves. You have got to be really committed to want to do that. You have to have something in you; to be able to say I don’t want to be where I am anymore, or I really want that and I’m going to do everything it takes to get to that point. You have to have something that really makes, motivates or forces you to.

Can you tell us a bit about your career as a nurse?

The first time I wore nurses’ uniform, I was three! There was a photo of me and my mum, and I’m in my little nurses’ uniform and I guess that’s where it started. All of my life, my mum had been ill; so, I guess I had always taken on this role either in a subtle form, or when I was in my teenage years, in a more formal, bigger role caring from my mum which I did till she passed away.

My Gran was a nurse, she was a Second World War Red Cross trained nurse. She worked a lot with burns victims, she did all sorts throughout her career, she worked with children with learning disabilities and many other different things. So, I grew up hearing all about that. My other Gran worked as what we would now call an Occupational therapist. Care has always been around me.

My first official caring role was when I was 15, where I got a job as a care assistant. It was at a local nursing home and I did that on the weekends. I then did my A-levels specifically relating to nursing and that was it! I did Orthopaedics and A&E to start with. A&E was really traumatic for me. At that point in time, I realised that I needed to be in a role where I could make a difference long term for people. So, I left the NHS and I went to work for a private organisation in a care home and worked my way up.

What advice would you have for anyone looking to develop their career or move roles?

I think they are two separate things. If you want to develop your career, it’s about understanding why. What do you want? Where do you want to go? What is your mission? Is there a speciality that you want to go into? Do you want promotion? Do you want a more strategic oversight so that you can make more decisions and make a bigger impact? It’s understanding what is your “why”. When you know that, do your research and find out what you need. Do you need to upskill, train?

With moving roles, I would want to know why you want to move. Are you unhappy? Are you in an organisation that you don’t like? Do you not like the working hours or pay? It’s understanding what the motivator is, are you trying to get away from something or to move towards something.

“Make sure that you are in the best possible place that you can be as an individual”

My advice for both of these situations would be to make sure that you are in the best possible place that you can be as an individual. When you move to a new role you do not want to take all that negativity with you and just move it too somewhere else. That doesn’t work for you as a candidate or for your new employer. If you are taking everything that you have been through before with you, you are not going to be in an optimum state to be able to perform effectively. This can make you feel in a new role like you can’t do it or that you have impostor syndrome.

Know your abilities, know where you need to go. Have a plan of where you want to go and be open to the fact that things may change. When things change, go with it! If it’s something that you want to progress with, remember that you don’t have to do it alone. Having somebody else to talk to enables us to view the wider perspective. Having someone to support you on your journey means that they can provide you with a new viewpoint.

What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?

My mum always used to say, “it will be alright, it will come out in the wash” and I hated it! Because, right in that moment when I was in the perfect storm, it did not help. It was probably one of the most insensitive things somebody could say, because it did not validate my feelings. However, now I have gone through several different perfect storms, I do know that it might not come out in the wash as I wanted it to, in the way I wanted it to, but it does always come out in the wash.

If you do feel like you can’t cope with something, acknowledge it and know that it’s OK to feel that way. Acknowledge it, process it and let it go. It’s OK to feel cross and to feel angry. What is not OK is holding onto those feelings. It’s about dealing with things in a productive way.

What are your hopes the future of social care?

It needs to change on so many levels. I think those people that do not have the right motivational vision for social care, need to go. It needs to be properly regulated including self-regulation. That includes more empowerment on self-regulation. Where things are wrong or negative events occur, people need to be listened to. People need to take responsibility to change those things. Too many places have poor work cultures, poor care and we need more places, and people that want to give fabulous care.

Funding needs to change. There needs to be equality and equity across the system. What one authority pays for somebody in one area, where somebody in another area, who has exactly the same needs, they get paid different amounts. How does that work? You have different areas that have different systems. You have different systems in place that are not followed in one area compared to another. The whole system just needs to change!

For me at the end of the day, it’s about people. It’s having the right care at the right point for where they’re at in their journey. We need to listen to the person; listen to their loved ones and listen to their families. We need to acknowledge that and acknowledge that we are caring for people not things.

Find out more

To find out how Lucy can help you, visit her website here, and follow her on Facebook!

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