Although training for mentors is crucial for success, arranging external or in-house training by external experts can be very costly. In our experience a peer mentoring scheme can work well without relying on costly systematic external training or supervision.
The system we employ is that the Mentoring Leads receive funding to attend formal training available at the London Deanery. The Mentoring Leads then provide in-house training and workshops to the peer mentors.
We found that about 2 hours, possibly split in 2 sessions, can be sufficient to teach basic principles. A number of mentoring models are available to be presented and practiced. However, we are mindful that some of the mentoring techniques are similar to the techniques used in psychiatric practice and therefore are more familiar to the peer mentors in our scheme. Peer mentors from other specialties may or may not require more training/support.
Continuous supervision and support during the mentoring relationship are important. Nevertheless, uptake of high intensity supervision is relatively low in our experience. The offer of a supervision/workshop once in 4-6 months, plus regular e-mails offering ad hoc support appears to be efficient.