For mentees

What is mentoring? 

Mentoring is a professional relationship between two colleagues. Its history stems from Greek Mythology - it is reported that Odysseus, when leaving for Troy, entrusted the education of his son Telemachus to his friend, Mentor.  According to Whitmore (2017), Odysseus said to Mentor "Tell him all you know" 

Why do I need a mentor? 

Why would you not?! 

Wouldn’t you like to be the best that you can be? Pick the brains of experts and those that have walked the path before you, are happy to share their tales and knowledge so you can achieve your vision? 

 

"A mentor is someone who sees more talent and ability within you, than you see in yourself, and helps bring it out of you." — Bob Proctor  

Benefits of mentoring 

Research has shown that mentoring has many benefits for mentees: 

  • Improved self-confidence, self- esteem and self-awareness 

  • Increased motivation 

  • Increased empowerment to enhance decision making 

  • Broadened horizons and experience 

  • Raised achievements and aspirations 

  • Improved performance 

  • Increased job satisfaction 

  • Networking opportunities 

  • Establish a balance between life and work 

  • Self -Directed Learning 

  • Increased career mobility and career opportunities 

  • Opportunity to give and receive feedback 

  • Ability to get assistance with ideas 

  • Opportunity to demonstrate strengths and explore potential 

  • Develop visibility within or outside an organisation 

  • Challenged to use talents and share expertise 

  • Identification of goals 

  • Valuable insights to help career decisions 

  • Improved ability to manage change 

 

Types of mentor 

To assist you in choosing a suitable mentor, we have decided to allow mentors and mentees to select areas where they are particularly experienced in supporting. For example, someone may like to have a mentor who was an international medical graduate (IMG), so they have experienced the same challenges of moving to the NHS. If you are returning to work after a period of absence, you may like a mentor who is aware of the challenges of prolonged time of work- either through sickness, maternity or paternity leave or other reasons. A peer mentor is someone of a similar grade. 

 

How to get the best out of your mentoring- top tips! 

  • Think about your life/work goals- ready to share with your mentor.  

  • Be open and honest- your mentor will be non-judgemental 

  • Be open- minded- your mentor will help you with clever questioning to challenge your current mindset 

  • Make sure you have the contact details for your mentor, so if you can’t make a meeting or are running later, you can give them plenty of notice 

  • Get a date in your diary for your next meeting before you leave your sessions 

  • Please give us feedback to help constantly improve the service 

 

Frequently asked questions 

 

What is the purpose of this mentoring programme? 
 
To offer support and guidance to you during your training. Your mentor will be ‘a trusted friend’, who is not your supervisor, not necessarily in the same specialty or working at the same locality as you. This ensures your privacy and you can expect things you discuss to remain confidential. 
How often should I meet my mentor? 
It’s up to you. Typically it might be once a month for an hour, but you and your mentor may make this more or less often, depending on your needs and your mentor’s availability. 
What kind of things will we discuss? 
You will set the agenda, and this may include telling your mentor how your training is going and if any issues have arisen that you’d like to discuss. It may also include discussion about how to improve the work/life balance. You may choose to include personal and professional development goals, learning needs and career choices, or anything that is important to you including personal matters that impinge on work. 
What should I expect from the first meeting? 
When you first meet your mentor, you will find that he or she is really interested in you and asks you about yourself, your plans and hopes for the future, and if there is anything you particularly want to share. Your mentor will also share his/her experiences with you, especially where they are relevant your circumstances. 
Is mentoring only for doctors who have problems? 
Not at all. It is about helping you to achieve your potential, and supporting you along the way, as outlined above in the question: “What kind of things will we discuss”.
Is mentoring part of the Professional Support and Wellbeing (PSW) service? 
PSW is a separate service to mentoring, although some of the team are involved in managing the service from an administrative point of view. Your PSW case manager, may also suggest mentoring as part of your personal support plan. If you need additional support, PSW offer coaching, counselling, study skills, dyslexia support and career support. You can contact them at psw.sw@hee.nhs.uk or via the webpages: 
https://www.peninsuladeanery.nhs.uk/about-us/professional-support-and-well-being-south-west/ 
Are there any doctors that might find mentoring particularly helpful? 
Mentoring is for anyone, but if you are new to the UK or the area, or you live away from friends and family you might find it particularly useful to have the support of a mentor whilst you settle in to your new environment. Some trainees who work part time or juggle a number of roles might also find the process useful. If you are in a dilemma about career direction a mentor may be able to help you sort out information. Similarly if you are having problems either with your work, your team or of a personal nature, a mentor can be very supportive. 
Where will we meet? 
You will travel to the mentor’s base, but hopefully will meet in a comfortable space, where there will be no interruptions. 
Will my mentor give advice? 
Well, maybe, but he or she is more likely to guide you towards finding your own solutions. However, as mentors are likely to have more experience than you, their suggestions and information can be very helpful.
Will my mentor fix things for me? 
Mentors will listen, help you reflect and possibly make suggestions. They may have information that will be useful to you, or can signpost you to other services that may help you. However, some mentees rather hope that a mentor will put in a good word for them with a colleague, or directly help them get a job or a training post, which is not the purpose of mentoring. 
Why mentoring? 
It is regarded as good medical practice by the GMC (2013) for doctors to have someone who can support them when they take on a new role or experience changes in their work patterns. Not everyone will feel the need for a mentor, but you don¹t need to be having problems in order to have one. 
What can I expect from my mentor? 
Someone who will not judge you, who will be empathetic to your needs, a good listener and someone who will support you and your choices positively. Most importantly, your mentor will be someone you can trust.
Is a mentor different from an educational or clinical supervisor? 
An educational/clinical supervisor may use mentoring techniques; however, because they have a role in assessing your progress through training, they are unable to be completely non- judgemental. Hence why we have a separate confidential service. You may find your mentor is also an educational supervisor, but not yours and they cannot discuss you with your personal supervisor 
What are my responsibilities as a mentee? 
You will take responsibility for attending meetings that you and your mentor arrange, and cancelling with as much notice as possible if it is necessary. It is a commitment like any other, even though it is an informal arrangement. You would also expect to come to meetings having undertaken some preparation about matters you want to discuss. 
What if I don’t get on with my mentor? 
We ask that you meet at least twice initially as it takes time to build rapport and trust. If after that time you feel it is not working, we would like you to tell your mentor, but if that is not possible for some reason, please contact us here and ask to be re-allocated. We will liaise with the mentor to resolve any outstanding issues. 
Do I need to keep any records? 
It might be helpful to keep a record of what was discussed at each session and what is planned for the next one, so that you can prepare. However, there is no formal requirement and it is entirely up to you. Your mentor will have some standard forms that you can use or adapt. 

More information 

There is a free learning module on the e-Learning for Healthcare website if you would like to know more about mentoring: