Mentoring and coaching

Mentoring and coaching plays a vital role in:

  • Developing and supporting doctors
  • Nurturing medical leaders
  • Helping a doctor achieve their full potential

As a psychiatrist, it can help you at any stage of your career.

In dealing with the ever changing NHS, mentoring 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.

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. If you are a trainee thinking about seeking mentoring or becoming a mentor, we also have a guide to mentoring for psychiatric trainees.

  • 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.
  • The Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management runs a mentoring scheme.
  • Some College Divisions are developing mentoring schemes, with lists of volunteer mentors. This might help if you can’t find a mentor within your own organisation, or would prefer not to. Please contact us at if you would like the details of your Division mentoring lead.
  • Contact your Devolved Nation or Division Manager to find out how you can get involved in mentoring locally. Please contact us if you would like the details of your Division mentoring lead.
  • Speak to your medical director to see if there is anyone within your trust, looking for a mentor.
  • The College has a small team centrally that oversees mentoring and takes the lead in managing the ‘Mentoring Network’.
  • Nearly all the Divisions have their own mentoring leads which together make up the Mentoring Network. The leads are instrumental in promoting and supporting mentoring in their areas.

Ethical guidance

If you have any questions about mentoring please contact us by email at

Experiences of Mentoring

Dr Jan Birtle, Specialist Advisor for Coaching and Mentoring at the College, interviewed Dr Adrian James and Dr Hilary Grant about their experiences of mentoring.

Read more to receive further information regarding a career in psychiatry