The feature on mentoring ('Head to head', pages 22-25, 11 November) provided a useful insight into the many development opportunities available from a mentoring programme.

I agree that there is an urgent need to co-ordinate current mentoring and coaching initiatives and to raise the profile of this proven intervention.

But managers may have been left with the impression that mentoring is an exclusive senior manager activity. Coaching and mentoring are increasingly seen as a means of developing all grades of staff, and are an effective alternative to costly and ineffective training programmes.

Some years ago, as the assistant nursing director at Hillingdon Hospital, I led a programme that used coaching and mentoring to recruit and retain D-grade nurses.

This programme won the Association of Healthcare Human Resource Management acute sector prize for excellence.

I am part of an accredited coaching and mentoring training programme aimed at developing a broad spectrum of staff. I also co-ordinate a mentoring network to support those involved in this area. With the need for staff to have personal development plans by April 2000, I urge managers to consider adopting coaching and mentoring as a means of improving staff and organisational effectiveness.

This is a way to bring about changes to support lifelong learning as part of clinical governance.

Sally Bassett Clinical effectiveness manager Oxfordshire clinical effectiveness support team