Mentoring 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”.
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.
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.
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 three times 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, come back to the programme co-ordinator (Lisa Baxter) and ask to be re-allocated. Lisa 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.