Setting up a Mentoring Scheme...

If you are thinking about setting up a mentoring scheme in your specialty, school or hospital we can help.

We have created a package of template documents that you can use and adapt in your own scheme including application forms, mentor person specification, feedback forms, reflection proformas and mentoring agreements.  These can all be downloaded from the links at the bottom of this page. We have also created a set of standards for a mentoring scheme that can help you to set up and improve your scheme, which can be accessed here.  There are lots of schemes being developed all over the region and by sharing our experiences and resources we can make it easier for others to start their own schemes.

What Are The Benefits of Mentoring for Organisations?

With increasing concerns about low morale, attrition and burnout among junior doctors, NHS Improvement has identified mentoring as one of "Eight high impact actions to improve the working environment for junior doctors".  These actions have been endorsed by many other professional bodies.

Other benefits include:

•  Enabling talented individuals within the organisation to reach their full potential
•  Supporting staff stepping into new roles and during times of transition
•  Improved staff wellbeing and motivation
•  Enhancing staff retention
•  Better productivity



10 Top Tips for Setting Up A Mentoring Scheme

1) Identify a team - Setting up a mentoring scheme is rewarding but it is a difficult task for one person.  It helps to have a core team to work together and divide tasks.  It is useful to have the support of a senior colleague to give credibility and oversight to the scheme.  On the other hand, commitment, enthusiasm and hard work are all essential and these can all be delivered by trainees.  It is useful to have stakeholder engagement with the groups from which you will draw your Mentors and Mentees once these have been determined

2) Target your Mentor and Mentees - It is useful to start by deciding who your scheme will be open to.  Will your scheme be open to all trainees or will you target a particular group (by grade, specialty or geographical location/place of work)?  Once this is decided, you can decide who your Mentors will be.  Will they be consultants or more senior trainees?  You should also think about how you will recruit your participants and can start sharing your initial plans to raise awareness.

3) Decide on the structure of your scheme - You will need to determine how you want your scheme to run.  Will you specify the frequency of meetings and the duration of the relationship, or will you leave this to individual pairs to decide?  Will you have fixed "intakes" or will you have a selection of Mentors availabel for Mentees to select as and when they choose?

4) Develop a governance framework - This is an essential part of being a scheme organiser.  You will need to consider issues like contracting and confidentiality.  You will also need to think about how you will ensure the quality of the scheme.  Finally, it will be very important for you to have a clear process for dealing with any concerns that arise during the scheme and ensuring that both Mentors and Mentees feel supported throughout.

5) Deliver training - You will need to ensure that your Mentors have a clear understanding the concept of Mentoring.  They should know the structure of the scheme and how to run a mentoring session.  They will need to have developed mentoring skills and have an idea how to build and maintain a mentoring relationship.  Will you deliver this training yourself or direct your Mentors to external training?

6) Get matching! - Each Mentee needs to be allocated to a Mentor.  It is good practice to seek preferences from Mentees before matching them, but it will not always be possible to match everyone with their first choice.  Conversely, some Mentees will be happy to leave the matching process to you.  You might also want to take into consideration factors such as geography at this stage.

7) Launch your scheme - After the matching process is complete, your mentoring pairs are ready to go.  Consider whether a launch event would raise the profile of your scheme and encourage your Mentors and Mentees to get to know each other.

8) Collect feedback and make adjustments - As your scheme progresses, you should pro-actively seek feedback from all participants in the scheme about how you, as scheme organisers, can improve.  Even a well-run, established scheme will usually be able to make improvements but it is almost certain that in setting up a new scheme you will not get everything right first time, and it is best to nip any problems in the bud.

9) Support your mentors - It is important that your Mentors have the chance to continue developing their skills.  Meetings or workshops for your Mentors allow them to share good practice and support each other.  They might need to refresh their training or extend it.  Mentors should be able to access support with any particular problems or concerns from the scheme organisers at any time.

10) Ensure sustainability - One of the pitfalls of running a scheme is that if key team members move on or lose interest even well established schemes can fail.  It is important to consider from the outset how you will keep the momentum of your scheme and think about succession planning.  Sometimes former mentees can be recruited as mentors, creating a self sustaining cycle.

Setting up a Mentoring Scheme

Workshop: How to set up a Mentoring Scheme

This half-day workshop will look at the nuts and bolts of what is needed to set up and run a successful mentoring scheme.  See the "Courses and Events" tab for more details


Royal College of Surgeons.

The RCS have produced a handbook on mentoring and some issues to consider when setting up a scheme which can be found here.

Royal College of Psychiatrists.

RCPsych have produced a document giving brief guidance on setting up a mentoring scheme which can be found here.

Why Mentoring?

General Medical Councils statement on mentoring can be found here.

This Royal College of Anaesthesia article gives a very good insight into what mentoring is and its benefits.
Article in Bulletin 2014 – Dr G French ‘Mentoring for Anaesthetists’ - click here. Page 44

Royal College of Psychiatrists have produced a document outlining the difference between mentoring and coaching which can be found here.

Training for Mentors

We are currently developing training packages that can be delivered locally.  We are creating flexible packages that can be adapted to suit your needs - either as short "chunks" or a whole day course.  Our Mentoring Fellows aim to co-deliver sessions in the first instance.  Please contact us at if you are interested in this.

Mentoring Courses

The Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland run a course aimed at anaesthetists. Find out more here.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists StratOG has a mentoring e-learning module in ‘Core Training’ ‘The Obstetrician & Gynaecologist as a Teacher, Researcher & Professional’ It is
free to members and costs £24 for non-members - click here.

Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health run a course aimed at Paediatric Trainees and Consultants. Find out more here.

The Royal College of Physicians run a Mentoring Skills Workshop that is aimed at Doctors of all specialties and grades who are interested in taking on a mentoring role in their workplace, or who already have mentoring responsibilities and would like to improve their practice. Click here for more details.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists are currently providing free mentor training to individuals who would like to take part in its mentor scheme and become a mentor in their Division. Please contact them for more information.

Developing further...

Gain a qualification in coaching and mentoring

The Institute of Leadership and Management qualifications are internationally recognised and range from an introduction to mentoring to a postgraduate qualifications in executive coaching and mentoring.

Find out more here.

Join the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health Mentoring Champions Network

"The Mentoring Champions Network is a new initiative which aims to promote mentoring and support paediatricians who are keen to promote mentoring within their organisation."

Find out more here.