Mentoring for doctors

Our guidance gives you an overview of the benefits of mentoring, how to find a mentor and the skills required to be a mentor.

Location: UK
Audience: All doctors
Updated: Monday 7 September 2020
Career Progression Article Illustration

Benefits of mentoring

  • Aids the development of doctors at all stages of their career.
  • Improves retention rates and work performance as well as working relationships.
  • Encourages equality and reduces discrimination.
Benefits for the mentee
  • A better understanding of the culture and structure of an organisation.
  • Improves self-confidence.
  • Increases skills and knowledge.
  • It can be a supportive environment in which successes and failures can be evaluated.
  • Potential for increased visibility and demonstration of your career focus.
  • You get individual attention from experienced senior colleagues. 
Benefits for the mentor
  • Satisfaction from contributing to the mentee's development. 
  • Enhances self-esteem.
  • Revitalises your interest in work through an opportunity to examine one's own achievements and skills.
  • Opportunities to test new ideas.
  • Improves your ability to share experiences and knowledge. 

How to get a mentor

Who to contact

Before getting in touch with potential mentors you should have a think about which areas of your work would benefit most from having the support of a mentor.

The next steps you should take include:

  1. informing your line manager - you do not need permission from your line manager, and your mentor should be separate from your line manager
  2. contacting your deanery - your deanery can tell you if there are any existing mentor schemes in your area
  3. arranging your first meeting with your mentor. 

Preparing for your first meeting

Mentoring can be as formal or informal as you want it to be, but confidentiality is an important part of the relationship because you should feel able to speak freely.

If a mentoring scheme is a formal relationship with the permission of the employer, time should be set aside for discussions. 

Having a checklist helps to inform your mentor of what you want to get out of the experience and sets some ground rules around objectives, frequency of meetings and goals.

 

Becoming a mentor

Required skills of a mentor:

  • questioning
  • active listening
  • challenging
  • probing
  • clarifying
  • coaching.

You do not need to have a complete understanding of the working environment of the mentee to be able to offer them support. However, you will need to be skilled in the process of mentorship so that you are both getting the most out of the experience.

Training for mentors

If you are thinking of becoming a mentor and want to do some training, you can contact your HR department, local deanery of royal college.