The Mentoring Process

Mentoring Website Section

Mentoring is:
‘the process whereby an experienced, highly regarded, empathic person, (the mentor), guides another individual, (the mentee), in the development and re-examination of their own ideas, learning and personal and professional development1.’

The relationship between mentor and mentee represents a professional, supportive partnership over a fixed period of time. At the core of mentoring is the concept of continuing development of the individual practitioner, both professional and personal2.

The Northern Ireland General Practitioner Mentoring Scheme is intended to help GPs to address challenges they are facing. All of the mentors in the scheme are GPs with a broad range of experience. Information about the GP mentors is contained within the biography section of the mentoring site.

Mentoring discussions are completely confidential. Written records of mentor discussions will not be kept and information about mentees will not be provided to third parties. The only exception to this may arise if the mentor has concerns relating to patient safety or probity, should this occur the mentoring session would be stopped and the concern and action needed explained to the mentee.

For mentor payment purposes, the mentor will advise the administration team that the mentoring session has taken place. Generally up to five mentoring sessions are offered initially, further sessions may be offered if appropriate.

In order to facilitate development of the scheme both mentors and mentees maybe invited to give anonymous feedback. Mentees may also be invited to complete a confidential, anonymous questionnaire relating to their sense of well-being before the mentoring and on completion of the final mentoring session. Information from these questionnaires will remain confidential and individual doctors will never be identified.

Based on existing GP mentoring programs elsewhere3, areas that GPs could find useful to discuss with a mentor include:

  • Current work problems
  • Team relationships and leadership issues
  • Performance issues
  • Decision making
  • Time management issues
  • Work-life balance

Anticipated benefits of mentoring include:

  • Helping you to work more efficiently
  • Helping you to work better within your team
  • Improving your self-awareness
  • Improving your motivation

The mentor will encourage you to discuss challenges you are experiencing and help you to explore these issues.

The mentor will:

  • Be a professional GP colleague who will be available to listen to and understand your situation in a non-judgemental manner.
  • Act as a soundboard and explore issues with you and may help you to find a way through.
  • Reflect your thoughts back to you to help you ‘throw light’ on your situation and how you may cope with things.

The mentor will not:

  • Tell you what to do.
  • Be your representative or act in any way on your behalf.



  1. Oxley, J. 1998 In Exploring Mentoring British Medical Association
  2. Kolb D 1984 Experiential Learning: Experience as a Source of Learning and Development Prentice Hall Englewood Cliffs New Jersey
  3. London Deanery 2010   The first five hundred. A report on London Deanery’s Coaching and Mentoring Service 2008-2010 NHS London


The GP Mentoring Team gratefully acknowledge the assistance of everyone involved in developing the GP Mentoring programme with particular thanks to Dr Patricia Houlston, Elaine Fugard and Dr Camille Harron.