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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

OP66. Mentoring and Coaching

Price: £10.00

Published: Nov 2008

Status: current

Number of pages: 38

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This guide on mentoring and coaching is a practical resource and reference guide. It is aimed at prospective mentees and mentors, with suggestions on training and preparation for these roles. Those involved in setting up mentoring schemes will find suggested approaches and templates for useful documents. The main body of the text includes ‘capsules’ of additional detailed information on specific topics and the appendices provide examples of useful publications and where to find further information. The guide covers both mentoring and coaching; most models of mentoring and coaching share the same basic premise, namely that the mentee is resourceful and that the key role of the mentor/coach is to help the mentee use this untapped resourcefulness.


The National Health Service is currently undergoing a major cultural shift with the emergence of foundation trusts, performance management and a plurality of service providers. Trusts need to ensure good recruitment and retention of medical staff and reduce locum costs. Psychiatry too is changing – the advent of New Ways of Working (Department of Health, 2005), payment by results and the fact that psychiatrists nowadays may have less leverage within trusts, create new challenges for the specialty. Shorter specialist training periods place new pressures on trainees and consultants. This is taking place alongside high expectations from the government and the public. Consultants need to be adaptable and to have sound methods to facilitate their professional and personal development. Achieving an optimal work–life balance is increasingly important. There is a growing evidence base on the usefulness of mentoring to both individuals and organisations. Since 2002 the College has recommended that all newly appointed consultants be offered a mentor, but a recent survey of mental health trusts conducted by the College (summarised in an Appendix to this report) shows patchy implementation of this recommendation. A key aim of this guide is to highlight the usefulness of mentoring to all grades of psychiatrists at different stages in their careers. We hope mentoring will become a ‘normal’ widespread activity accessible to all psychiatrists.


Mentoring: statement of intent


What is mentoring?

Mentoring issues specific for psychiatrists

Mentoring in practice – how to do it

Training and support in developing mentoring skills

Mentoring: current issues for psychiatrists



1. Summary of the mentoring survey

2. An exemplary template for developing a ‘pen portrait’ of mentors on a scheme

3. Mentoring contacts

4. Frequently asked questions

5. An example of a mentee/mentor matching pathway



Further reading

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