Definitions of mentoring vary according to context and intended outcomes. In Western culture the traditional model for mentoring has evolved from the ancient Greek story of how Odysseus left his son in the care of an older wise man, called Mentor, as he set out on his legendary journey. The name mentor then entered the language meaning “a wise and trusted advisor”. Traditionally then, in organisations and the professions, a mentor was seen as an older/more senior colleague who would take a more junior colleague under her wing and advise and support her as her career developed. This was often a relationship based on patronage, where you could expect your mentor, because of their positon in the company or profession, to “open doors” for you.
In the past decade mentoring within organisations and the professions has grown and the model itself has evolved. The concept of patronage is now seen as much less desirable in that it often excludes sections of the community and work force (notably women and people from minority ethnic communities). In Europe, though less so in the USA, mentoring is now seen as a formally managed developmental process where the relationship between mentor and mentee is more equal, where there is a clear contract for development and where both parties are recognised as gaining from their involvement.
Healthcare is a relational practice. As staff exercise their judgement, and offer their skills and expertise, individually and in teams, they are always in a human relationship with patients, their families and each other. The quality of their work, the experience of patients, and the effectiveness and efficiency of their efforts, depend on the quality of these relationships. These relationships need to be supported and sustained by healthy relational systems. A mentoring scheme can contribute to the health of those systems, and to the well-being and effectiveness of individual staff.
Our mentoring programme is available to all hospital and community trusts, local authority organisations and general practices. We offer personal support in the context of continuing education and professional development, addressing current professional concerns and providing space and time to reflect on and evaluate the professional task.
We can also offer help with career appraisal and development and help the individuals to explore the professional and personal boundaries. All mentoring is strictly confidential.
Please contact us for more information.