What is Mentoring?

Mentoring is a powerful personal development and empowerment tool.

It is an effective way of helping people to progress in their careers and is becoming increasing popular due to it being time efficient and on the job learning.

A mentor can help the mentee to find the right direction and can help them to develop solutions to real life work challenges.

Mentors rely upon having had similar experiences to gain an empathy with the mentee and an understanding of their issues. A mentor is normally a more experienced individual who is willing and able to pass on the benefit of that experience by providing non-judgemental support, and providing guidance on the issues raised by someone with less experience (the mentee).

Mentoring has been proven to give benefits to both the organisation and the individual in the following areas:

  • Developing strategic thinking,
  • Problem solving,
  • Influencing skills, and how to begin to apply these in the workplace,
  • Help staff who are new in post,
  • Increase organisational knowledge through sharing their understanding, networks and experiences.


Mentoring at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust

We believe strong mentoring relationships can support a wide range of development needs for both mentees and mentors, and consequently, help mentees develop greater self-confidence and increased motivation through assisting with increased self-reflection and understanding.


How will mentoring help my development?

Your mentor will share their knowledge and experience with you, which is one of the key differences between mentoring and coaching.

Mentoring is not about the mentor telling you all about their experiences and you just repeating what they did; it is about providing you with examples and you and your mentor working together so that you develop your own solutions.


Informal and Formal Mentoring

It is important to remember that mentoring may just happen without any formal process being in place. Most of us have experienced a conversation or a situation that has stimulated thinking about a subject in a different way.

Formal mentoring does not need to be in place for you to learn and develop from your manager or peers.  You may take the initiative and approach an individual who you believe has the experience that will support your development and ask them to mentor you. You may decide the mentoring relationship does not require a definite process or format but you create one that suits you and your chosen mentor.

The main differences between informal and formal mentoring are:

  • Formal mentoring is evaluated and measures are established for assessing progress
  • Formal mentoring works within an agreed contract outlining key areas such as frequency of meetings
  • Formal mentoring is a facilitated process with a matching process matching you with a mentor because of their skills and expertise and your learning objectives.


How can I access Formal Mentoring?

There are a number of opportunities for mentoring depending on your current stage of development.

If you need any further information, please email [email protected] 


Useful links

NHS Connecting for Health has developed a mentoring toolkit


Further reading

"A Practical Guide to Mentoring: How to Help Others Achieve Their Goals 4th Edition", by David Kay and Roger Hinds, How to Books Ltd, 2009, ISBN 1845283708

"Coaching and Mentoring: How to Develop Top Talent and Achieve Stronger Performance (Harvard Business Essentials)", by Harvard Business School Press, 2004, ISBN 159139435X

"Everyone Needs a Mentor: Fostering Talent in Your Organisation", by David Clutterbuck, CIPD, 2004, ISBN 1843980541



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