We really enjoyed #NationalMentoringDay. We heard some inspiring stories and some fantastic examples of mentorship within the NHS. We are also thankful for the wonderful feedback we received in relation to our own mentoring skills as NHS leadership coaches. As we reflect on #NationalMentoringDay, we would also like to share our learnings with the wider healthcare communities by offering these 10 top tips on becoming a great NHS mentor:
- Always be respectful and receptive to the individual needs of whoever you are mentoring at any given time. This requires some emotional intelligence as you learn to create personalised and individualised opportunities to learn.
- Lead by example. This is not an opportunity for 'do as I say and not as I do'. Be an inspiration. This is your opportunity to pass on the torch and leave your legacy. Who do you want the next generation of NHS staff to be? - Make it happen!
- Be human. Share your emotion. Working in the healthcare services is an emotive job. This is not the time to demonstrate the importance of service and sacrifice. You need to be communicating the importance of self care and self compassion.
- Challenge your pupil. This does not mean push them until they cry. You must encourage them to embrace their own abilities and give them the confidence to thrive.
- Ensure that you learn at the same time. We all learn from each other, from new experiences and new opportunities. Refresh your own enthusiasm for new things and allow yourself to grow alongside your student.
- Admit when you are wrong or you do not know something. Nobody is perfect and we all learn from failure. In fact, if we got everything right all of the time, there would be nothing to learn.
- Ask questions. Encourage a critical mind. Encourage your student to apply evidence to their practice appropriately. This will not only improve practice, but also encourage further reflection and personal growth.
- Be transparent. Don't hold anything back. If there are challenges or conflicts in the workplace, help your student to understand them and work with them rather than shielding them from the truth. They may even hold part of the solution.
- Don't be afraid to criticise (constructively). There has been much talk about how we often 'fail to fail' students. We all want welcome new students and staff into our teams. Sometimes this is not always possible or safe to do, yet when we offer constructive criticism, we give every student the chance to thrive.
- Teach! - It sounds obvious, but you will have a plethora of experience and knowledge to pass on. Walk the student through everything you teach. Take the time to do it calmly and constructively. Be patient and reflect on how this new knowledge is being absorbed and reproduced by the student. This may also be a refreshing experience for you as a mentor!
The best part of being a mentor is of course to see the students grow and flourish into productive and thriving members of the NHS team. When we invest in good mentorship, we are investing in the future of our workforce. We certainly enjoy mentoring all of our leadership students...to all mentors within the NHS...we salute you!