Mat Daniel MMEd PhD MAC FRCS
I have 27 years’ experience in healthcare, including undergraduate and postgraduate medical education. I have a PhD, a Masters in Medical Education, and have / had leadership roles at University, regional and national level. I undertake research, collaborate with private sector, organise events, and edit for a medical journal. Coaching for me is a natural extension of my work as a doctor. I am altruistic and driven by the will to help others, underpinned by my core values of kindness, fairness, and teamwork. My coaching can help you achieve more and become the best that you can be.
I hold a formal qualification in Coaching and Mentoring, accredited at level 5 by the Institute of Leadership and Management and delivered by the British School of Coaching. This was a one-year programme that included theory, practical application, and direct observation & assessment of my skills.
I have completed a variety of short courses / masterclasses such as:
Certificate in Career Coaching Practice
Executive Coaching - Psychodynamic approach Masterclass
Emotional Intelligence EQ-i 2.0 / EQ 360 Certification
Realising Resilience Masterclass
Emotional Intelligence Masterclass
Unlocking Emotional Intelligence
Accredited Certificate in Group Coaching and Facilitation
Resilience Practitioner Certificate
Acceptance and Commitment Training Course
This is in addition to relevant knowledge, skills and attitudes acquired through my clinical, PhD and Masters in Medical Education training.
For me coaching isn't something you learn once and never review, but rather a life-long learning journey where I continuously learn about myself and develop skills to help others. Ongoing participation in learning is a key aspect of my practice, and I am currently studying for a Masters in Coaching and Mentoring Practice at the International Centre for Coaching and Mentoring Studies at Oxford Brookes University.
I am a member of the Association for Coaching, the European Mentoring and Coaching Council, and the Association for Professional Executive Coaching and Supervision. I adhere to the coaching Global Code of Ethics.
I initiated, helped set up, and now co-chair the Association for Coaching's co-coaching forum for Health and Social Care. In addition to being a professional networking opportunity, the aim of the co-coaching forum is to provide an opportunity for coaches to receive coaching, practice coaching, be observed in their coaching, and receive feedback on their coaching.
I have contributed to the Association's Coaching Connections magazine, writing about our experience of coaching in the operating theatre.
I maintain professional liability insurance and take part in Continuous Professional Development relevant to coaching. I undertake supervision of my coaching work, this means regular meeting with an experienced coach supervisor where we discuss my coaching, outcomes, and feedback (I regularly request feedback from coachees to ensure that I am delivering what is needed and to help my ongoing development).
Current roles include
-undergraduate lead for ENT at our university
-journal section editor
-guidelines lead for ENT at our Trust
-council member of British Otorhinolaryngology and Allied Sciences Research Society
-BACO conference academic committee member
-ESPO conference academic committee member
Past roles include
-Training Programme Director
-secretary of Otorhinolaryngological Research Society
-secretary of British Society for Academic Otorhinolaryngology
-secretary of British Otorhinolaryngology and Allied Sciences Research Society
I was born in Belgium and grew up in Slovenia, and have Scottish, Slovene, Austrian and Italian ancestry. I moved to England at the age of 16, and trained in West Midlands, Leeds, and East Midlands. I also worked in Sydney, although I prefer the British Countryside. I live with my partner, and enjoy gardening and running with my dog.
More about me
What made you consider being a doctor?
I nearly didn’t become a doctor. Actually I always wanted to be one, but when moving from Slovenia to England I was told by the careers advisor in my new school that medicine would be too hard and as an immigrant I wouldn’t make the grade. I applied for other subjects but never really with any great enthusiasm, and ended up not going to university after A levels. Instead, I spend 6 months sailing, then took a job as a phlebotomist. I realised actually medicine was what I wanted to do, so then did work experience, and applied with A levels already in the bag. Medicine for me was about making a difference to others. I know, how unimaginative!
During medical school, did you have any thought of what type of doctor you wanted to be?
When I got to medical school, I was pretty much unique in not having been on the career conveyor belt all along. But because I actually consciously chose medicine, rather than just going with the flow, I enjoyed my studies all the more. I remember being really shocked at the end of the first exams to find that I got really good grades. I did well in medical school and graduated top of the year. I enjoyed everything. I had an inkling that surgery was for me, I liked the pace of surgery, and the teams that one is part of as a surgeon. But to be honest, I would have enjoyed any one of a number of different careers. As a student I especially enjoyed psychiatry, because I was given a patient to see and had to drive to their house to see them and report back to the consultant; it was a real sense of responsibility and making a difference.
Did this change? Why?
I am fortunate to be old enough to have trained at a time when it was quite normal to meander through a number of specialties and try things out before deciding. I don’t remember much of my undergraduate ENT attachment, and I came to ENT almost by chance. ENT was paired with another job that I really wanted, but it turned out that ENT was the one I enjoyed much more. I found myself surrounded by other nice caring people, who worked hard for their patients and enjoyed their work. I did a variety of other SHO jobs as part of a rotation and settled on ENT in the end. After registrar training, a PhD in microbiology / drug delivery, Masters in Medical Education, and fellowship in Australia, I became a consultant.
Why have you chosen this path you’re on?
I now have four distinct roles. I am a consultant, I teach medical students, I do research, and I coach. I find that this gives my career balance, it allows me to express different values in the different careers, I move in four different worlds, and I get different benefits in return.
Looking back at my early career now, I can see I had a classic fixed mindset. As doctors we are selected and trained for our ability to tick boxes and jump through hoops. Our career progression is all about passing barriers, and that becomes all that matters. If you are unlucky and you don’t pass what you wanted, then big disappointment ensues. But even if you do jump all the hurdles, you discover that none of that leads to a rich and meaningful life. We think that once we pass X or get Y our lives will be happier, but all that happens is that we endlessly chase the dopamine rush looking for the next challenge, thrill, or win. We forget to enjoy being doctors; instead of enjoying our careers, patient interactions, and the teams we work with, we are chasing the next box to tick. Instead of learning, developing, constructing meaning for ourselves, and following our values, we are zombies on a conveyor belt taking us away from everyday enjoyment of medicine and from one tick box to the next.
In my case it all came to a head when health problems coincided with a crisis of meaning in my career. I discovered coaching, and through the help of a fantastic coach my life turned round and I began to view things in a different light. I went back to my 20 year old self and reminded myself of the reason why I chose this path. I identified what matters to me and what gives my life meaning, and I recognised that challenge and distress are normal components of a career that has meaning. Indeed, the stresses are what identifies that something matters to me, and the difficulties encountered are traversed in the service of a greater mission. I came to accept that making a difference to others is what my life is about, and that this inevitably will come with challenges and stresses. These stresses are to be welcome, because they are an indication that I am doing something that matters to me. That’s not to say that they are not difficult, of course they are, it’s just that I recognise that the same thing that drives me to make a difference to others is the thing that causes me stress when my values are not met.
Would you recommend it to others? What are the upsides and downsides?
What I would recommend to others is clear scrutiny of their values and motivations and where their life is heading. Be clear what you want your life to be about. Think big and start with small steps in that direction. Consciously choose your path. Recognise that with every choice some doors will close, and that all choices have downsides too. Plus we are responsible for the consequences of those choices, so choosing is at the same time exciting and scary. Accept that there will be times when things will be going downhill, but these are an essential part of the big plan, and what distresses us often tells us that we are dealing with something that is really important.
I have a wonderful career. I also think I would have been happy doing a variety of other things too. Rich and meaningful careers are much more of our own making than we think. There are some things that are difficult and we have no control over, but how we respond is up to us and what we make of a career is up to us too. Things also change all the time, so I would encourage regular deliberate examination of where the career is, what is working and what isn’t, and what changes or new directions can be sought.
I think there are some people who have a clear preference for one specialty, but for me personally what drives me are my values, and actually these can be expressed in a variety of different careers. I think most health professionals are similarly values-driven, and the exact choice of specialty then becomes much easier (or much less important) once you know what you want your life to be about.