My Experience on the Mentoring Skills Course for Doctors – Mel

By Dr Melanie Coulson

Melanie is an FY3 Clinical Education Fellow and member of our Oxford Medical Junior Doctor Panel.

Why did I do the course?

I signed up for the 1-day Teach the Teacher: Mentoring Skills for Doctors course to improve my 1-to-1 teaching and mentoring skills. In particular, I was hoping this course would allow me to improve my knowledge of models used when mentoring and then techniques of how to approach situations when I am in a mentor role. I was eager to learn practicalities such as these, as they would then equip me with improved communication skills to explore ideas and concerns my mentees have. I also hoped that this course would provide me with insight into improving my leadership skills.

What did the course involve?

The course package included the Mentoring Skills for Doctors Online Course followed by the one full day of teaching.

The online course was composed of 15 short modules. These were available to use in my own time and I found it useful to revisit these as needed. The online modules included easy to follow videos, animations and reading. Alongside the online modules, there was an optional workbook which was useful to aid reflection on my current teaching and mentoring practice. I am sure these reflections will be useful to read again in the future.

Following this, the online training day was facilitated by ‘an expert’. There was a small group of us who were all doctors who attended. On my training day, the group included an FY2, clinical fellows, psychiatric trainees and senior clinical fellows. The session introduced ideas and practices that we could take forward for use when mentoring. We were given opportunities to practice conversations and techniques on other course delegates within online break out rooms and then discussed any difficulties we were finding as we went along.

What have I learned that I will carry forward into future practice?

I found the combined learning experience gained from both the online course and the training day to have provided several new ideas for how I can support the people I teach.

It was useful during the course to consider the roles we take and their definitions, such as defining the differences between a ‘coach’, a ‘mentor’ and a ‘teacher’. Although my teaching philosophy continues to develop, I have not previously reflected on the specific role that mentoring plays within my teaching. I now therefore have greater insight into the role I take and the impact that it has.

This course encouraged me to self-reflect and consider my practice within the process of mentoring, including how I listen, how I respond to mentee problems/comments and consequently how I then support my mentee to think independently. Considering myself a ‘resource’ for them to learn from will be useful. Using given mnemonics, such as the GROW coaching model, will be one of the ways I will use the course content going forward in my practice. It is this appreciation of the balance of facilitation and encouraging the ‘Growth Mindset’ within myself and my students, that will result in the best outcomes for my future mentees.

Melanie is a member of our Junior Doctor Panel, a small group of medical students and junior doctors working in different roles who share their experiences with us and with you via blog-posts and webcasts which we include on our website and social media accounts. In return, we support them with their development. Click here to find out more about the Junior Doctor Panel.