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

Mentoring & Coaching

Mentoring and coaching is:

  • Central to developing and supporting doctors
  • Underpins many aspects of medical leadership
  • Helps in achieving a doctor’s full potential
  • Applies to doctors throughout their career pathway

In dealing with the ever changing NHS, it is one of the tools used to build personal resilience.

Dr Janice Birtle, the Specialist Adviser for Mentoring is working to champion mentoring and coaching throughout the College, and to support the setting up of mentoring schemes and to develop mentor training.


What is Mentoring?

A mentor is a person who will support you by providing advice and support at any stage of your career.

Your mentor will usually be more experienced and qualified than you. They are often a senior person in the organisation.

The mentor can pass on knowledge and experience, provide or recommend opportunities which you may not have considered, so you can develop skills and competencies to progress your career, and provide contacts that you wouldn’t normally access.

Read more about it in our mentoring and coaching guide.


How do I find a Mentor?

  • A personal approach to a recommended mentor or known senior colleague often works well.
  • Most mental health trusts have in-house mentoring schemes for consultants, or know how to access mentors. Contact your clinical or medical director.
  • If you are a trainee or involved in training, contact your Deanery to find out about their mentoring schemes.
  • Some College Divisions are developing mentoring schemes, with lists of volunteer mentors. This may be of particular usefulness if you cannot find a mentor within your own organisation or would prefer not to. Those in the subspecialties are advised to approach the faculty Honorary Secretary or their division manager.
  • The Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management runs a mentoring scheme (See here).


How do I become a Mentor?

  • Contact your division manager to find out how you can get involved in mentoring locally.
  • Speak to your medical director to see if there is anyone within your trust, looking for a mentor.

Contact your division team.


How is the College supporting Mentoring?

  • The College has a small team centrally that oversees mentoring and takes the lead in managing the ‘Mentoring Network’.
  • Nearly all the Divisions and a number of faculties now have their own mentoring leads which together make up the Mentoring Network. The leads are instrumental in promoting and supporting mentoring in their areas.

Please contact us if you would like the details of your local or faculty mentoring lead.






Contact us

If you have any queries/questions about mentoring or would like to join our network of interested individuals, please contact us at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, via email:, or by phone on 0207 245 0412.

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RCPsych Specialist Adviser for Mentoring - Dr Janice Birtle