Every dental professional deserves a mentor. Mentoring is probably the best tool for supporting performance quality in dental professionals. It's an expression of our values and culture as a caring profession.
We can all profit from achieving mentoring skills: non-judgemental listening, searching questioning strategies and clear summarising to maximise the outcome of the discussion for the mentee (or the patient).
I believe it's time to get serious and give trained mentoring the attention it deserves; which is why I'm supporting the 2018 Dental Conference: Mentoring at the BDA's London office on 20 October, find out more below.
Five top tips: mentoring
But first, I'm often asked for my top tips for mentoring in the dental profession, so here are my five key ones:
- Be trained and keep up your skills – mentor skills are quite different to those of a clinician, manager, leader or practice owner. They may come naturally to some but for most of us they need to be learnt. Mentoring isn't just a friendly chat between colleagues and while experience is important, it doesn't mean that all experienced dental professionals are automatically able to mentor.
- Work with a professional mentor yourself - skilled, trained mentors will add considerably to your development and success, so it's well worth the investment. Mentoring is the skill that keeps giving. Working regularly with a mentor will add considerably more to your future worth as a dental professional than any practical technique course.
- Become a professional mentor - nowadays, the role of the mentor is to help mentees to learn for themselves, to discover their own direction, style and destiny, and signpost the learning that they will need. Professionalism matters in maintaining these boundaries.
- Mentor regularly - delivered properly, mentoring enables the mentee to be more self-aware and to make the changes they decide to put into place in a sustainable way.
- Get supervision - After gaining a qualification, regular supervision with a trained mentor/supervisor is important. Mentors need to regularly review and appraise the work they do and take opportunities to discuss their approach with appropriate colleagues.
Are you looking for mentor?
And if you're looking for a mentor, here's three questions to ask before you invest time, effort and money in working with a mentor:
Because professional mentors...
What mentoring qualifications
do they have?
…have recognised qualifications
How much mentoring experience
do they have?
…keep logs to prove their experience
How do they keep up their
…refresh their skills by joining mentoring groups, getting supervision and attending relevant events.
Why attend the first-ever dental mentoring conference?
"Helen mentioned how we coach our patients as well every day and she's right. Since doing the course, I've felt that the connection with my patients is much better, every day, on a daily basis." – a student of the Dental Coaching Academy PG Level 7 Award "Coaching and Mentoring: supporting professionals"
Top up your mentoring skills – mentoring is demanding and there are specific skills, techniques, and tools to be learnt.
Take a 15-minute taster session – there is nothing quite like giving something a try to appreciate its worth.
Gain CPD - refresh and renew your mentoring skills – it's part of enhanced CPD and it makes good sense.
Meet with like-minded professionals – networking with colleagues who share your passion and commitment for mentoring enhances the learning of any conference.
My vision is that every dental professional will benefit from at least basic training in mentoring and enhance the practice of dentistry.
Their skills will be put to good use in patient care, better staff management and colleague relationships.
If you share my vision, I really look forward to seeing you at the Conference on 20 October – you can book online or email us for more information.
Dr Janine Brooks
Dr Janine Brooks MBE is a Professional Leadership Coach and Mentor
Supporting you: mentoring
Dentistry be a pressurised environment - mentoring can be an excellent way to ensure career progression, job satisfaction and skills development, plus have a positive impact on wellbeing – see our resources how mentoring can help you.