The role of a mentor is a very rewarding one. As the legal profession is often so demanding, we rarely find time to dedicate towards thinking about our own career development, let alone supporting others in the profession. Many of our mentors say they wished they had been able to benefit from a similar opportunity particularly when they were in the early stages of their careers. The Scottish legal profession is known as a tight-knit community and it's fantastic that we have so many enthusiastic members keen to give their time to helping others flourish.
Our ultimate aim is for mentoring to become so well established as a mechanism for peer support, that our mentees become mentors themselves, then maybe even a mentee again if the need arises!
"I trained as a mentor in 2014 and I have had the opportunity of mentoring two law students to date and I have recently been matched with a new mentee. The training to become a mentor involved a day long course and assessment with Jan Bowen-Neilsen who is a qualified coach and mentor and the founder of Quiver Management. The training day itself was hugely beneficial and taught me a lot about active listening and good mentoring skills. The process of mentoring involves identifying and exploring the issues or problems the mentee has. As a mentor I will listen to the concerns of the mentee and help to identify any problems they have. Together we will discuss what they would like to change or achieve and come up with a game plan to tackle the issues. The role of the mentor is not to tell the mentee what or how to do something but to help them come up with their own strategies for coping and developing. I see my role as a mentor being one of providing support and perspective. I have found the programme very valuable. It has been rewarding to help my mentees achieve their goals. The experience has also helped to develop my listening and management skills. I would highly recommend the Law Society’s mentoring scheme to anyone who is interested."
Anyone, regardless of the stage you're at in your career, can be a mentor. It's not about having a certain set of experiences or being at a specific level in an organisation. Being a good mentor is about having the right blend of soft skills and being able to apply them at the right time. As a general overview, some positive attributes are:
- Being committed to the mentee and investing the necessary time to assist the mentee’s personal development
- Having good interpersonal and listening skills
- Respecting deadlines and meetings, rescheduling as required in as far in advance as possible
- Delivering constructive feedback in a positive and supportive way
- Understanding the needs and aspirations of the mentee
- Capable of managing the mentoring relationship, tracking progress and if needed, drawing the relationship to a successful close or suggesting an alternative mentor
Before being able to match up with a mentee and be 'live' on the online platform, mentors must attend a full day of training which normally takes place at our offices. During the training, you will learn how to develop an appropriate mindset for the role, as well as learning how to structure effective mentoring conversations including how to listen constructively and question effectively. You will learn how to put the mentee at the centre of your sessions, ensure the mentee takes ownership of their own development and manage all aspects of the relationship. This will include how to conduct your first session, how to structure effective mentoring conversations and how to draw the relationship to its end.
On a more ongoing basis, there are various resources available to support you including guides and videos on the online platform. We additionally run supervision sessions to boost your knowledge and refresh your skills and confidence. This also allows you to meet other mentors in the area and benefit from peer-support.
If you have any questions about becoming a mentor, please contact email@example.com.
"Did you know mentoring can be a great way to get CPD? The time you dedicate to mentoring can also be recognised as verifiable CPD, whether that's undertaking formal training courses, or your regular meetings with your mentee."