Mentoring and Coaching
To contact Mentoring and Coaching
please telephone: 020 7245 0412 or
Many people find a mentor or
a coach helpful, but it is not always clear how to access one or
what is likely to be provided. The terms may be used in an
overlapping way to indicate an arrangement of support and
encouragement for personal development, usually with a professional
focus but with an awareness of ‘work/home (work is part of life!)
balance’. These activities, while usually comprising one-to-one
personal and confidential discussions, are not therapy or
treatment, but similarly depend for success on the participants’
willingness to engage.
Mentoring at any stage of a
psychiatrist’s career is encouraged by the Royal College of
Psychiatrists, especially for new consultants, as it can be very
helpful at times of transition to a new role. Informal mentoring is
frequent, but the value of more formal access to mentoring is now
Mentor and mentee
The mentor is usually more
experienced and qualified than the ‘mentee’. He or she is often a
senior person in the organisation, who can pass on knowledge and
experience and provide or recommend opportunities which the mentee
may not have considered so that they may develop skills and
competencies to progress along a successful career path. The mentor
may also provide contacts that the mentee would not normally
Mentors should ideally have
training and the opportunity for ongoing support and peer
supervision, but should be independent of managerial structures if
they are from within the same organisation as the mentee.
Generally, it is a voluntary role, but professional time should be
allowed for it.
Meetings are usually
one-to-one, and while at first it is helpful if there are regular
set times, later meetings may take place as and when the mentee
needs some advice, guidance or support. The agenda is set by the
mentee, with the mentor providing support, guidance and sometimes
challenge to help forward professional development.
The mentoring relationship
lasts for varying lengths of time, but for newly appointed
consultants a typical time period may be up to 2 years with
meetings at least monthly. There is some agreed structure to the
meetings, which may include an agenda and brief notes with possible
interim contact if needed. The mentoring relationship moves from an
‘initial phase’ to the ‘working phase’ and on to the ‘dissolving
phase’. Mentor and mentee may eventually establish a more equal
Access to mentoring
- A personal approach from
a potential mentee to a recommended mentor, or known senior
colleague, often works well.
- Most mental health
trusts have in-house mentoring schemes for consultants, or know how
to access mentors. Contact a clinical or medical director and they
should be able to help.
- If you are a trainee,
contact your Deanery to find out about the mentoring schemes they
- Some College Divisions
are developing mentoring schemes, with lists of volunteer mentors.
This may be of particular usefulness if the potential mentee cannot
find a mentor within their own organisation or would prefer not to.
For those in the sub-specialties, approaching the faculty Honorary
Secretary is advised.
The Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management mentoring
Becoming a mentor:
The College is currently
providing free mentor training to mentors who would like to become
part of the College mentor scheme and become a mentor in their
division. Please contact us for more information.
Coaching is typically
provided on a professional and paid-for basis with a written,
signed contract specifying how the coaching relationship will
operate and providing boundaries.
Coaching is usually for a
contracted number of sessions over a period of time and can often
take the form of telephone discussions. Coaches should have a
relevant qualification in coaching, which will have provided
training in technique. They may or may not have special knowledge
of the professional area of the client, such as medicine or
The aim of coaching is to
support people through change, promote a balanced life, accelerate
personal development and enable people to realise their potential.
The agenda is focused on achieving specific, immediate goals.
Coaching is confidential and
uses a range of skills, including listening, questioning, relating
learning to the client’s experience and challenging to promote
personal development, balance and effectiveness. As well as
improving quality of life this can increase productivity and job
The client is encouraged to
expand their awareness and understanding of situations they face,
explore options and shift their behaviour in ways that produce
positive results. They identify areas of their life they want to
work on, increase their awareness of relevant factors, work to
develop options and make and carry through plans for action.
Access to coaching
Coaches can be found through
a number of different sources. It is advisable to ask others about
their own experiences and to look at the websites to see what might
suit your individual needs.
The Centre for
Advanced Learning and Conferences (CALC) currently
provides a course on executive coaching to enhance performance -
Please click here for further information.
Centre for Advanced Learning
and Conferences (CALC)
Royal College of Psychiatrists
21 Prescot Street
T: +44 (0)203 701 2618
F: 0203 701 2761
- CHAMBERS, R. (2005) Find yourself a mentor.
BMJ Careers, 330, 170.
- EGAN, G. (1998) The Skilled Helper (6th edn).
- HOUGHTON, A. (2005) Personal support 2: how
to make the most of a mentoring relationship. BMJ Careers, 330,