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One-to-one support is available in a variety of forms, depending on what you want to achieve.


For advice from someone who is more experienced in the field or area that you’re interested in, you will probably need a mentor. A mentor is generally someone who can offer help (but won’t tell you what to do or what decision to make) in a particular area. For instance, a more experienced manager will be able to give you some insight into the kinds of skills and knowledge that a successful manager might need. Someone who has been involved in recruiting academic staff might be willing to take a look at your CV and offer advice, or a Researcher Developer might be able to recommend courses that you could take to improve your skills or performance in particular areas.

Mentors can be formal or informal, and they could be provided by your School, department or the University, or you could find one yourself. 

Your school may provide you with a mentor but if not, you may wish to find your own. Choosing your own mentor can have several advantages. You can also identify the person who you think is best placed to offer the support and advice that you need. However, there are some challenges to arranging your own mentor, but the tips sheet below might help you to persuade your mentor of choice to give up some of his/her time to help.


If you don’t necessarily need advice, but want someone to help you to figure out to make a decision or overcome a barrier or challenge then coaching may be more appropriate than mentoring. Coaches would usually be expected to have undergone some training (while mentors may or may not have been specifically trained), but do not necessarily have to be knowledgeable or experienced in the area(s) they’re helping with. That is because coaches will rarely offer advice or tell you what decision to take – rather they help you to make your own choices and decisions, to think through problems and identify ways of moving forward. Some issue or challenges that a coach may be able to help with are:

  • How to improve your work/life balance
  • How to improve relationships with people that you work with
  • Particular areas for development (like how to say no, how to prioritise your time/workload, increasing your self-confidence, how to network with confidence, etc)
  • How to approach a difficult decision
  • How to move forward in an area where you are procrastinating

This list is not exhaustive and a coach will usually meet with you to discuss whether coaching is appropriate for what you want to achieve.

If you are interested in coaching, please email: