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Mentoring is a process whereby a mentor helps the mentee in their personsal and professional development. It is useful for both work and non-work issues, and particularly at times of change, such as when settling into a new post or taking on a new role. The mentor provides an informal and confidential environment where opportunities, dilemmas and problems can be addressed. A mentor might challenge assumptions or act as a sounding board, with whom the mentee can discuss new ideas, help with networking, or coach someone preparing for an event.

Each mentoring relationship is different. Some are intense and last over time, whereas others are brief, and related to a specific situation. Good mentors work in different ways, but in essence the mentor provides a 'map', a framework which the mentor and mentee use to guide their discussions. The mentor might support the mentee in exploring the situation, gathering information and gaining insight, identifying different possibilities and approaches, reaching a decision and taking action. The mentor is a facilitator or enabler for the mentee, rather than a puzzle solver. It is not about patronage or giving advice; a good mentor is trained for the role, rather than an enthusiastic amateur.

This process has been shown to have many benefits for the mentee. People who use mentoring describe being more confident, better at problem solving and change management, increased job satisfaction, better at dealing with relationships and team working, and improved personal effectiveness.

Further Sources of Information

  • The London Deanery have a fantastically helpful site dedicated to mentoring. The site covers ground rules for mentors and mentees, answers to FAQs and hosts a podcast among many other resources. 

  • Check out your local deanery website for information regarding mentoring schemes in your area. NB: Some deaneries are more active than others with regard to mentoring

  • Contact your local Human Resources dept. to find out details of local mentoring schemes within your health-care trust.

Medical Women's Federation
Tavistock House North,
Tavistock Square, London,
Tel: 020 7387 7765