Most us will be familiar with the term mentoring – both within the workplace and throughout education. But what you might not realise is just how important mentoring can be, and the benefits it can bring to your career growth and guidance.
What is mentoring?
Mentoring is a form of relationship developed between two people – the mentor and the mentee – whereby the mentor, as someone more experienced within their relevant field and more established in their career, is able to offer the mentee advice and guidance, as well as share insights and help the mentee develop connections for their future progression.
A large amount of businesses as well as educational organisations will offer mentorship programmes to facilitate the establishment of a mentorship relationship. Within law, mentoring can be particularly beneficial, offering a mutual learning opportunity for both parties and providing another chance to demonstrate a willingness to go the extra mile and stand out within this competitive sector.
How can mentoring benefit me?
Mentoring, as above, offers the mentee opportunity to be exposed to insights from the experience of the mentor as well as benefit from the advice and expertise of someone who may have been through similar experience. In a legal context, the mentor may have direct experience of applications of a specific type of case law, for example.
Mentoring also offers the opportunity for the mentee to grow in confidence, and become more able to explore and communicate their ideas when in discussion with their mentor. In all, these skills allow the mentee to develop into a better lawyer, as communication with clients is key.
The networking aspect of mentoring should not be underrated, particularly for those considering their next career move. It may be that your mentor is able to introduce you to your future firm!
Mentoring offers benefits most obviously to the mentee, but also to the mentor in the form of further development of their own leadership and communication skills.
Partaking in a mentorship scheme is also an attractive addition to any legal CV. On the part of the mentor it shows generosity with their time as well as a willingness to support others, whilst on the part of the mentee it demonstrates an ability to listen to the guidance of others and a commitment to personal and professional development.
How can I find a mentor?
If you have decided that you would like to find a mentor, it is important to assess your professional legal goals and what exactly you would seek to gain from a mentoring relationship. Once you have established this, you will be well positioned to identify the types of individuals you would like to learn from and emulate.
As mentioned above, many organisations have established mentoring programmes, which provide a more formal framework that is tried and tested and so are often useful when it comes to structuring the mentoring relationship from the outset. It is worth exploring whether your company, firm, educational organisation, or local law society offers support in this manner. Likewise, if you would like to be a mentor, identifying yourself to these organisations is the best way to show you are open to helping someone in this way.
As a potential mentee, you are also able to approach individuals directly if there is a specific figure you would like the opportunity to engage with, or where a formal process is not already in place. Simply introduce yourself, politely explain what you are seeking within a mentoring relationship, and let them know why they in particular are someone you would like to mentor you. Not everyone will have the time or be willing to mentor but, as the old adage goes, if you don’t ask you don’t get!
SQE1 and SQE2 Prep – Personal Academic Coach
With the above in mind, Law Training Centre’s SQE1 and SQE2 Prep courses are built with facilitating a mentoring style relationship in mind. Both comprehensive Prep courses include as standard access to a 1:1 Personal Academic Coach, who will support you to stay on track. Your Personal Academic Coach will not only provide academic support but also pastoral care, careers guidance, CV advice, and guidance on how to balance studies and work life.
Why Mentoring Matters | Chronus