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Knowledge Management and Personal Development are hot topics for most organisations and mentoring is a great way to combine the two. Through external mentoring schemes, such as the one run by LexisNexis, you can share knowledge and gain new ideas and perspectives from different industries.
This year we will be publishing a series of newsletters designed to help and support those involved in the mentoring process – be that as a mentor or mentee an experienced practitioner or a new recruit. Each quarter we’ll look at a range of
different topics and offer practical and pragmatic tips for success.
In this issue we cover:
Click here for a pdf of this newsletter >>
Long and short term mentoring goals
We may enter the mentoring relationship with the idea that one day we want to make it to Senior Counsel, but that goal is a long way off, so how do we break it down into manageable chunks? Simple – start at the end and work backwards, identifying
each step along the way and the skills you’ll need at each level. Keep working back until you reach where you are now, then flip the “map” around and start working forwards - using the “map” to set your goals for each
stage of the journey.
Be sure to celebrate smaller milestones along the way – don’t just wait until you’ve achieved something big before your celebrate. If one of your goals was to improve your negotiating skills you don’t need to wait until you’ve
completed a multi-million pound deal to celebrate – celebrate the small wins – that time you negotiated with your boss to get your point of view across or the time you persuaded a difficult client to follow your advice.
For some of us the goals we have may be difficult to quantify, for example: “I want to be more confident”. By crystallising these into something more tangible will help enormously when trying to achieve them. You can do this by answering the
These questions will help you identify what your triggers are (and if you’re a mentor they’re great questions to ask) and clarify more clearly what your goal is – “I want to deliver a presentation to the senior management team
without falling over my words and shaking from head to foot.”
Understand different learning styles
This is important for both mentors and mentees. How do you learn best? Imagine the scenario – a large flat pack bookcase is delivered to your house – how do you go about assembling it? Some of us will rip of the packaging and get stuck in,
others may prefer to find an online video walking them through the process, whereas others will pour themselves a cup of tea and settle down with the instruction book. If you understand your own style you can play to your strengths – if you’re
an active learner then find situations where you can get stuck in. If you’re more reflective then track down some webinars or try work shadowing. For the more theoretical types, there are plenty of books on the market and websites to peruse.
Mentors – you need to be particularly aware of pushing your own learning style onto your mentee – just because it works for you it doesn’t mean it will work for them. At your next session ask questions about how they prefer to learn
so you’re better able to guide them to appropriate resources and solutions.
There are several excellent online resources to guide you through this – you can look at our Practice Note: Approaches to learning and development for in-house lawyers or look further at the work by Honey and Mumford and Kolb’s Learning Cycle.
Mentors – skills and experience that you can pass on
As you rise through the ranks it’s easy to wonder what we have that someone else could benefit from but your knowledge, skills and experience can be invaluable to someone starting out. How many things have you learned the hard way where you could
have benefitted from some expert input?
Being a mentor isn’t about being perfect, it’s about being human. Great mentors will have made mistakes (and learned from them!), faced and overcome difficulties, had great successes, dealt with setbacks, worked with a variety of different
people in different situations and, perhaps most importantly, great mentors also realise that they don’t know it all and that there is still much to learn.
Your personal qualities as well as your technical expertise will enable you to build and maintain a positive relationship with your mentee:
For Mentees – do I really need a mentor?
What can mentees hope to gain from the mentoring relationship? Aside from a valuable ally within the business and an insight into what it means to operate at the most senior levels, you should also be able to get the following from a mentoring relationship:
It will be up to the two of you to agree the structure and format for the mentoring sessions (and we’ll give more guidance in future newsletters) but the focus should always remain professional.
Areas you could cover include:
The more open and honest you can be within the mentoring relationship the more you will benefit from it – be prepared to listen as well as to talk and, most importantly, be prepared to act.
LexisNexis in-house have set up a free mentoring programme for in-house lawyers. The aim is to offer senior lawyers the opportunity to develop their mentoring skills and pass on their wisdom by connecting them with mentees looking to learn and progress
in their careers.
To participate in the scheme, please email email@example.com.
0330 161 1234