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Coaching & Mentoring

At NIMDTA we recognise the value of coaching and mentoring as a way to support, develop and release the potential of our trainees.

Our team of experienced and qualified coaches provide 1:1 coaching sessions for trainees (up to a maximum of 4 sessions), providing a valuable way of identifying workable strategies for overcoming blocks to success.  A coach uses the skills of questioning, listening, observation and feedback in conversations, aimed to help develop rich insight and learning for the trainee.  Coaching can lead to greater satisfaction and fulfilment, heightened levels of engagement and performance, enhanced self-confidence and assertiveness and a greater sense of wellbeing. 

Coaching can be used in many situations to help development, release potential and move forward with training.  Some examples where coaching can be beneficial:

  • How can I manage my time better to achieve my goals?
  • How can I reduce the stress in my job or my life?
  • How can I achieve a better balance between work life and home life?
  • What skills do I need to grow and develop further?
  • How can I improve my relationship with a specific colleague?
  • How can I progress in this project?
  • How can I improve my exam preparation?

How do I Access Coaching?

Due to limited availability, coaching can currently only be accessed via a 1 to 1 support appointment with the Professional Support and Wellbeing team.  Trainees can self-refer or can be referred by an educator HERE.

Due to limited availability, coaching can currently only be accessed via a 1 to 1 support appointment with the Professional Support and Wellbeing team.

Trainees can self-refer or can be referred by an educator via 

Mentoring could be described as a form of supported learning and is an increasingly popular tool for supporting professional and personal development.

Mentoring is a distinct activity, separate to coaching however it engages a selection of skills which are used in coaching.

In the workplace it describes a relationship in which a more experienced colleague uses their knowledge and understanding of the work or workplace to support the development of a more junior colleague.

Mentoring is used specifically as a form of tailored development for the individual bringing potential benefits to both them and ultimately the healthcare organisation they work in.

Hear from Dr Julie Anderson, Professional Support and Wellbeing Lead & Mentor Lead

What Kind of Topics are Discussed?

The most common topics for discussion with mentors are as follows:

The most common topics for discussion with mentors are as follows:

You will be matched with a mentor who is a senior trainee, who could support you in the practical aspects of your training, as well as many other areas.  There are a number of benefits to becoming a mentee:

  • Gain practical advice, encouragement and support
  • Learn from the experiences of others
  • Increase your social and professional confidence
  • Become more empowered to make decisions
  • Develop your communication, study and personal skills
  • Develop strategies for dealing with both personal and professional issues
  • Gain valuable insight into the next stage of your medical career
  • Gain advice on relocating to NI and working in the HSCNI

There are currently a number of mentoring schemes in operation.  These are as follows:

  • Professional Support Scheme - The Professional Support Team manage a generic scheme which provides mentoring for foundation doctors and doctors within specialties that don’t have their own scheme. Contact for further information about this scheme.
  • Specialty Specific Schemes - these schemes aim to provide specialty specific mentoring and are led by senior trainees appointed as Mentor Leads. See below for contact details for mentoring leads within each scheme:


Contact Email





Geriatric Medicine


Obstetrics and Gynaecology


Public Health 


You can register to become a mentee at: sfG MentorNet - Register for a NI Medical and Dental Training Agency account

What current Mentees have to say...

I have been involved in mentoring for the past couple of years and joined the lead mentorship initiative at NIMDTA in the aim of improving the experience of new trainees. I personally have benefited drastically from the opportunity when I was a mentee during my core training, which helped me grow and progress without the fear that we usually feel getting into training. Since then I felt that this program has great potential in assisting all new trainees joining us here in terms of setting up that friendly one to one guidance that most of us need making that transition. The program is designed to be less formal than your usual supervisor/trainee relationship, which I believe helps alleviate that element of anxiety.

The NIMDTA Mentoring program has been one of the most invaluable resources during my time in the Foundation Programme. Getting used to a new system and also culture was challenging at first - but once I was set up with a mentor, I was better able to handle the transition. The process itself was very simple with the system and you have a vast variety of mentors available. I was fortunate enough to find someone who had been through a similar experience so their advice would be extremely relevant. Once the initial match was done, we began to organise monthly or bimonthly meetings- informal, usually at a coffee shop.

During these meetings I would relay my current situation along with any queries or concerns. We would then discuss them and I would often gain a clearer understanding of how to gain the most out of the job. We concluded with a game plan of things to achieve before the next meeting. This plan really helped me stay focused and organised to succeed at my role as an F1. By having a mentor I feel that I have a source of pertinent experience and wisdom that has and will continue to guide me on my journey as a doctor in Northern Ireland.

Participation in the scheme offers the opportunity to:

  • Develop your communication skills
  • Develop active listening skills
  • Enhance leadership skills
  • Promote self-reflection
  • Improve working relationships
  • Enhance problem solving skills
  • Advocate for others
  • Get a certificate of participation in the scheme for your portfolio

To criteria to become a mentor across are:

  • Be ST1+ for the PSU scheme (or ST3+ in specialty schemes)
  • Received an ARCP outcome 1, 6, 10.1 or 10.2 at your last assessment
  • Complete the Mentoring for Success Training Course.

Register as a mentor here: sfG MentorNet - Register for a NI Medical and Dental Training Agency account

What Does Mentoring Involve?

Mentee/mentor pairs are encouraged to meet at least 2-3 times in each placement. This is most effective if done face to face, but depending on geography and time commitments, this can be done remotely.   We would ask you to sign up for a minimum of 1 year, unless you are matched to a foundation trainee as these partnerships are expected to last for the duration of their 2-year programme.  Mentors can also decide how many mentees they are able to partner with, up to a maximum of 3.

Feedback is also valuable, and you will be asked to complete a short questionnaire at the end of the year to help the various schemes continue to improve.

Hear from NIMDTA Mentors

Introducing a secure system to help mentors, mentees and administrators to communicate.  Benefits include:

  • Secure, easy communication – allows mentors and mentees to have confidential conversations through the MentorNet app, click here for a guide on how to set this up.
  • Activity logs – mentors and mentees can make notes following meetings; these notes will be shared with both parties.
  • Knowledge base – access to a mentoring resource pack to support your role
  • Share documents securely
  • Choose your own mentor – mentees will have access to view mentors’ profiles to request your own match.