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Mentoring / coaching

Mentoring / coaching


A mentor is someone who is independent of your research project (often based in a different institution and perhaps working in a different specialty) who can give you general advice about difficulties you may be encountering and career progression.

  • A mentoring scheme for academic pathology trainees below the level of a Clinical Lecturer is currently being developed by the Pathological Society of Great Britain & Ireland. Details will be added soon to the PathSoc website.
  • A mentoring scheme for post-doctoral academic trainees is offered by the Academy of Medical Sciences
  • Mentoring/coaching schemes may be offered through your Deanery, hospital or local training programme. They are usually time-limited and worth applying to, especially if you are experiencing issues which might lend themselves to coaching/mentoring. Ask your clinical or educational supervisors for details.


A coach is someone who does not give advice, but instead encourages you to think about and around particular issues which you may be facing and to formulate your own plan to tackle them.

Consider establishing a local peer-peer coaching scheme. This could simply be between you and one or two peers and quite informal or you could open it up to all academic pathology trainees/pathology trainees within your Deanery. To run a coaching scheme you need to:

  • Consider whether departmental support/approval is required.
  • Consider whether a training session is required (provided by a professional mentor or coach) to offer guidance about what to expect and information about coaching techniques. Would this need funding?
  • Devise a system by which trainees can be matched.
  • Establish ground rules (e.g. what items can and cannot be discussed, to what extent will issues discussed be kept confidential, what to do if a peer-peer mentoring relationship does not work etc.)
  • Decide how you envisage sessions will run:

    • where will the mentoring pairs meet?
    • how long will a meeting last?
    • what is the envisaged format of each meeting? e.g. will each member of a pair have the opportunity to both ‘coach’ and ‘be coached’ within a meeting (splitting the meeting in half) or will there be a separate meeting for each member of the pair to be coached?
    • how long will each mentoring partnership last?
    • how will the system be assessed e.g. collection of feedback?
  • Consider whether mentors need evidence of taking part in the scheme e.g. certificates.
  • Update your CV to record that you founded and/or participate in a coaching scheme.