Do you want to set up or boost an existing mentoring scheme?
Increasingly organisations are setting up mentoring schemes and I’m often asked to support the training of mentors and mentees for them. This is great news, but developing a successful scheme is not straight forward and many have fallen by the wayside through lack of resources or investment; even when a willing cohort of mentees and mentors exists.
The Academy of Medical Sciences (AMS) has a well established scheme that has been running since 2002 and have freely published a wealth of resources on their website to support other’s in setting up a scheme. MORE HERE.
In addition, the AMS are running a good practice and development workshop on 15th September 2016 (13:00 – 17:00). They will showcase their own scheme and have invited other organisations to share their learning and practice. This will include Nottingham University Medical School, Professor Lis Paice and I will be facilitating the afternoon.
Venue: The Academy of Medical Sciences, 41 Portland Place, London W1B 1QH.
In 2014-2015 I supported the Royal College of Radiologists to develop a pilot mentoring scheme for new consultants. This was a very successful scheme and so the RCR are rolling this out in 2016 as a key part of their service.
What pilot participants said…
“I do have quite a few colleagues who haven’t been a part of the scheme, who I can’t compare directly with them and say ‘oh I’m so much better than they are’, but I probably have moved a lot further than they have.”
“…it’s not just collecting a membership fee, but the College wants to provide something for us apart from the training. That gave me more motivation to get involved with the College basically. So I think if not for this I’m not sure when I would have come into this building or seen the College or got involved with the College staff as such.”
“I think it really, really helps you to do a very good high quality appraisal, the sorts of things we’ve been learning, not just as a mentor but having this exchange, and relationship with my own mentee, I think it’s been fantastic.”
“I felt part of the College, of creating something and here, I suddenly felt like I was participating in a very important thing with the College, I definitely felt that.”
To view the poster presentation on the pilot at AMEE:
I ran a session for doctors in the West Midlands last week who volunteer their time to mentor colleagues. The session focussed on why mentors (and coaches) need supervision.
‘Supervision’ – it’s an unhelpful word though. Supervision implies a policing or checking that is thrust upon us and is unwelcome. However, if done well it can be incredibly useful and important.
The CIPD (Chartered Institute of Professional Development) highlight three areas that supervision for mentors/coaches should cover:
qualitative function (checking and reviewing the quality of the service you offer – needs to be done no matter how experienced you are)
developmental function (reviewing your skills, understanding your capabilities through reflection and exploration)
resourcing function (provides emotional support enabling the mentor to deal with the intensity of working with clients)
To read the CIPD paper detailing this click HERE. These three areas form a useful structure for reviewing your practice and CPD as a mentor or coach. Looking after the service you deliver (whether paid or volunteered) needs to take a high priority as you are often working in a isolated way.
And it can be a lonely experience. Obviously the information you hear and help people with is confidential, so you are often absorbing lots of personal experiences that are sometimes uncomfortable for the person you are supporting. Having the resource to deal with this is important. That’s why similar professions like psychologists have regular supervisors.
If you don’t have a supervisor what should you do?
If you are part of a organisation scheme see if you can buddy-up with a fellow mentor to start the process of review and development. Or, see if there is a lead mentor in the scheme who can offer this option. They should be qualified and experienced.
If you are a lone mentor, see if you can reciprocate with a fellow mentor/coach you know who you can share the supervision with. Or, Consider hiring a mentor or coach to support you.
The EMCC (European Mentoring & Coaching Council) and the CIPD recommends that mentors and coaches should receive regular supervision, usually calculated on how many hours of mentoring you are doing per month. For example, at least every two months or 1:35 ratio of supervision to coaching.
The bottom line is, you need to look after yourself and strive for continuous improvement because as we know, being a coach or mentor is exciting because it is a continual learning process.
Executive coaches are typically seen as being professionals, and compared with other professions, such as therapy and counselling, where supervision has long been an essential part of continuous professional development, quality management and the maintenance of boundaries, especially in terms of client protection. Mentors, by contrast, have typically been seen as amateurs – less well-trained, operating in an unpaid capacity. That assumption is increasingly questionable.. David Clutterbuck.
Recently I had the pleasure of reading Julie Starr’s latest book and then interviewing her about it.
I reviewed The Mentoring Manual: Your Step Step-By-Step Guide to Being a Better Mentor for the book club of the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management.
You can access the Book Review HERE and the Interview HERE.
However experienced you are at mentoring, it is critical to stay fresh and keep developing your skills. This book helps you do that and makes sure that you stay focused on doing the basics brilliantly. It’s important to remember this as a clinician when you are really busy, and distracted by work pressures.
What book/s have influenced your mentoring approach as clinician? Reply below.
Doctors are increasingly being asked to get involved in mentoring both formally and informally. But why do it?
I think Doctors like supporting other doctors. They like to pass on their experiences and help others to avoid mistakes and difficult situations they’ve encountered. The medical profession is a long career and there is a lot to learn, so the chance aid others is a powerful driver for most Doctors.
So what is it and why might Doctors be really good at it?
“Mentoring is a distinct relationship where one person (the mentor) supports the learning, development and progress of another person (the mentee).” Julie Starr.*
Mentoring (and coaching) is different from training because it aims to ‘draw out’ learning rather than push in information. It aims at reflection and experimentation that leads to individual development, rather than at direct influence that leads to presupposed outputs.
Why could Doctors be good at it?
Doctors are used to listening to people’s concerns and anxieties confidentially
Doctors have a caring and empathic approach to other people
Doctors are used to remaining objective and impartial
Doctors are used to spotting patterns and making connections in problems
What can hinder Doctors being great mentors?
Doctors are used to listening for clues that can help diagnosis – mentoring conversations require you to listen with an open mind and follow the mentee’s train of thought within a supportive structure
Doctors are used to being in pressurised conversations where time is limited – mentoring needs to be free from rush and should give people time to think freely.
Doctors are used to directing junior colleagues – mentoring is not about solving the other person’s problems, but rather enabling the mentee to explore their own solutions.
If you have access to a mentoring scheme through your College, Training Programme, Hospital or other organisation, get involved.
*Julie Starr has recently published The Mentoring Manual and references Gandalf/Bilbo, Dumbledore/Harry, Yoda/Luke and other famous great mentoring partnerships.
If you would like to talk over mentoring call me on 0754 0593476 or email me at