Mentors

Mentors, Life Coaches & Counsellors

No matter how confident (or not) you are in what you want to do for your future career you are likely to require, help, support and guidance to get you there. How do you know if your intentions are realistic or suited to you? What do you do if things go wrong? What are your options if your life changes? How do you make sure you stay on track? These are some of the many situations that may benefit from life coaches, career counsellors and/or mentors.

Mentors

Mentoring can enhance your career

"Mentoring provides both personal and professional support allowing an individual to develop knowledge, skills, attributes and enhance their practice”

Bayley H, Chambers R, Donovan C. The good mentoring toolkit for healthcare. Oxford: Radcliffe Publishing; 2004

Mentoring has been defined as:

‘A relationship where one individual (the mentor) guides another to explore and expand on their own ideas, so that they learn and develop both personally and professionally’

Modernising Medical Careers working group for career management. Career Management: an approach for medical schools, deaneries, royal colleges and trusts. London: Department of Health; 2005

Mentors can be useful throughout your career. However they are especially useful during times of:

  • Development
  • Transitions
  • Changes
  • Difficulties – e.g. communication or relationship problems, stress

Finding a Mentor

If you do not have a mentor how can you find one?

  • Find out if your university, hospital trust, foundation school, deanery or have a mentor scheme or a list of willing mentors
  • Have you anybody in mind to be a mentor for you?
  • Ask your supervisors/tutors for help in finding one
  • Mentoring schemes specific to your chosen career, specialty, gender or situation may be available:
    • The Academy of Medical Sciences has a National Mentoring and Outreach Scheme which is supported by the Department of Health and the National Institute for Health Research which provides mentoring services to Clinical Lectureres, Clinician Scientist Fellows and outreach services for Academic Clinical Cellows, Clincial Training Fellows and MBPhD students

You may need to change your mentor you progress through your career and your needs change.

Essential Qualities in a Mentor

Bayley H, Chambers R, Donovan C. The good mentoring toolkit for healthcare. Oxford: Radcliffe Publishing; 2004

  • Impartial
  • Good Listener
  • Supportive
  • Non-judgemental
  • Skilled in feedback
  • Perceptive
  • Trustworthy
  • Chemistry: intellectual and emotional compatibility
  • Ethical
  • Respectful
  • Interested
  • An effective leader
  • Able to be Self-aware

Desirable Qualities in a Mentor

Bayley H, Chambers R, Donovan C. The good mentoring toolkit for healthcare. Oxford: Radcliffe Publishing; 2004

  • Knowledge
  • Authority
  • Inspiring
  • Patient
  • Seniority
  • Able to Receive Feedback
  • Technical Expertise
  • Advisor
  • Instructor
  • Knows the Health Service
  • Experience

Prepare to meet with your Mentor

What are your objectives for your meeting? What do you want to achieve?

What questions/uncertainties do you have?

Think about yourself – what are your strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, priorities? If you don’t know – perhaps finding out should be an objective to achieve with your mentor.

When you are with your Mentor

Discuss your objectives and questions with your mentor and plan when and how you will cover them – write this down to form a personal development plan.

3 Stage Framework for Mentoring Sessions

Chambers R, Mohanna K, Thornett A, Field S. Guiding doctors in managing their careers: a toolkit for tutors, trainers, mentors and appraisers. Oxford: Radcliffe Publishing; 2006

Exploration – the mentor listens and prompts the mentee with questions

New understanding – the mentor listens and challenges the mentee, recognises the strengths and weaknesses of the ideas, shares experiences, establishes priorities, identifies development needs, gives information and supportive feedback

Action planning – encourages new ways of thinking, helps the mentee reach a solution, agree goals and decide action plan

Would it be helpful to leave some time free during each session to discuss new issues that may arise?

Arrange your next meeting and what you should cover before and during that meeting.

Resources

Bayley H, Chambers R, Donovan C. The good mentoring toolkit for healthcare. Oxford: Radcliffe Publishing; 2004.

British Medical Association. Exploring mentoring. London: BMA Board of Medical Education; 2004. Available at www.bma.org.uk/ap.nsf/Content/Mentoring <broken link>

Chambers R, Mohanna K, Thornett A, Field S. Guiding doctors in managing their careers: a toolkit for tutors, trainers, mentors and appraisers. Oxford: Radcliffe Publishing; 2006.

Connor MP, Bynoe AG, Redfern N et al. Developing senior doctors as mentors: a form of continuing professional development. Med Ed. 2000; 34: 745-53.

European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC)

Improving working lives initiative report of interviews with doctors and NHS managers can be found at Fleming B, Golding L. Mentoring for doctors: talking about the experience. Soundings Research; 2003.

Iversen A. It's good to talk. BMJ Careers. 2007; 335: 118-9. [Peer led mentoring scheme for psychiatrists]

Incomes Data Services. Personnel policy and practice: mentoring. Surrey: Unwin Brothers, The Gresham Press; 2000.

Launer J. Supervision, mentoring and coaching. Edinburgh: Association of Medical Education.
Oxley J, Fleming B. Mentoring for doctors: signposts to current practice for career grade doctors. London: Department of Health; 2004.

Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Mentoring for all<broken link>. London: RCOG; 2005.

Standing committee on postgraduate medical and dental education (SCOPME). Supporting doctors and dentists at work: an enquiry