What Are Mentors Exactly Suppose To Do In A Partnership?

Those of us, who have been fortunate enough to work with a mentor at some point in our lives, understand the importance of having such person next to us as part of our growth process. The role of a mentor is extremely influential in an individual’s career and it can pave the road to success for those who are trying to find their footing and want to take advantage of the experience that only comes from years of working in the industry. Career-changing is the perfect adjective to describe what a mentor can do for something who really wants to take charge of their own professional development, so today here in Suzzanne Uhland’s blog we want to use this opportunity to help mentors figure out what exactly their role entails and which practices do fall outside of their scope of practice. Even if you are not a mentor but a mentee, this information can be quite useful to help you analyze your own expectations and understand how you can best benefit from the relationship while at the same time giving back, as it is important to remember that mentoring is not a one-way street and the best mentorships are known for being a symbiotic exchange in which both parties grow, learn and become richer from an experience that should not be taken lightly.

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Companies should also do their parts by understanding what they are asking for their senior leaders when they assign them as mentors and how they can best support the relationship by giving all parties involved the necessary tools to be successful in an endeavor that will surely help the organization greatly in the short and long term.

The difference between mentoring and coaching.

In some articles, you will see that people often put both of these terms in the same category which is not entirely wrong, but it is important to understand that coaching and mentoring are not ideas that can be referred to interchangeably because they do not mean the same thing. Mentoring normally is done in the long-term basis and with the growth and professional development of the mentee and while coaching has very similar ideals, it is not something that is done for a long time, since it focuses on very specific behaviors that need to be corrected or changed and some goals that want to be achieved. Both of these strategies are great and they work always with the benefit and growth of the mentee in mind, but while one has the characteristics of a marathon in which participants pace themselves and goals are set of the long term. Coaching usually yields results a lot faster because it focuses on something specific and time sensitive that the mentee wants to achieve.

Planning a short and long-term strategy.

Mentors and mentees work together in creating a strategy that includes both short and long-term goals. Think about those goals as a map before you go on a trip. It is necessary to understand where you are going so you can take the best route and also so you know exactly when you are going to get there. Setting up goals and benchmarks is sensible and quite responsible, and that is why this is one of the most important things a mentor has to encourage the mentee they have taken under their wing.

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Encouragement and support.

Mentors sometimes work as cheerleaders as they provide support and encouragement to their mentees. Mentors are supposed to help their partners think outside of the box and go outside of their comfort zone to try new things and to see things from a different perspective. In order to do this, mentors need to identify resources that can help their mentees advance their development and grow in their professional world. Support can also be found in learning tools and materials such as books, workshops, and courses. As a mentor, it is great if you are interested enough in helping your mentees find such tools

Honest and raw advice.

A mentor has to be able to provide truthful and unadulterated advice so their mentees. It is not their job to pull any punches and their job is to say things honestly and without a filter, something that mentees probably would not be able to get anywhere else but from their mentors. This type of insight is very valuable and it is considered of the greatest things a mentor can offer their partners.

A mentor is not there to tell you how to do things.

This is very important to stay away from. Mentors should not be telling their partners how to do things; instead they are supposed to encourage them to find solutions and to be able to solve their own issues. Mentors are not problem-solvers but instead, they are partners that provide encouragement and guidance from a perspective of experience and professional knowledge.


How to make the transition from being a mentee to becoming a mentor?

It is well-known that mentors are important characters that help with the professional development of individuals. This is not an exception for law students who plan to one day become successful attorneys or start their own law firms. Mentors help to break that gap between experienced attorneys and the ones who just graduated from law school.

Mentorship needs to be a both-sided relationship between two individuals: the mentor and the mentee. Mentorship should be enriching and mutually beneficial. However, it is important to consider that all mentors needed to be mentees and that is why it is so important to find the right mentor. Depending on the type of mentor you have will be the type of mentor you will become.

In order for mentees to become great mentors, they need to receive great knowledge from their mentorship experience. Wisdom and useful advice are also important to set some standards and references for the future law mentor.

In this article, Suzzanne Uhland will review what is to be a law mentor and how do mentees take that step to become successful law mentors.

Related: How Mentors Inspire Their People Everyday

Being a mentee

As a mentee, your responsibility is to choose a mentor that can actually suit your needs. This is very important in law since you are only allowed to specialize in certain fields under that approval of a mentor. A mentor is not necessarily someone who sings in for the role. It can be anyone you are close to during the last years of law school or right after graduating from it.

Many mentors come in the shape of superiors who happen to work at the same place that you do. This is why it is very important for you to be surrounded by professionals that can give some key information and advice to your formation. This means that as a mentee you probably won’t have a boss who is constantly lecturing. But, a figure who is always willing to answer questions and help you grow professionally.

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Sometimes, those who once were mentees and now are mentors look back at the history and realize that some of their best mentors were not formally described as such. They were individuals with whom they could hold an enriching professional relationship with.

Those who are about to become mentors after being mentees should always keep in mind the important pieces of advice they once received from their mentors. Being a law mentee is about having the opportunity to observe, meet, and building long-lasting relationships. This happens because in the future you will want to share your skills, knowledge, and connections with those you are mentoring.

Becoming a mentor

Having said that, how do you make the transition from being a mentee to becoming a mentor? There are different answers to this question.

First, as a law mentee, you will have many mentors along your career. This will mean that you will know many attorneys and they will know you back. Having a nice background is highly important to become a successful attorney.

In many cases, a former mentee who is now a successful attorney will become a mentor by simply helping those individuals who just got out of law school. This way, the person who used to be a mentee will start to give hints, advice and pass knowledge to a new generation of attorneys who are eager to learn. This mentor – mentee relationship won’t be formally established but will help the mentee take the right path.

Another way for a former mentee to become a mentor is thanks to the law-student decision. It has been said that mentorship is a both-sided relationship. This is how many law-students or recently graduated lawyers look out for the type of mentor they want to have. After this research takes places, they will approach to their potential mentor to start a mentorship relationship.

When both the mentor and the mentee feel comfortable and find common ground to grow a mutually beneficial relationship, the mentoring process starts. However, this is not yet a formal mentoring relationship. It is an agreement between two people on the sharing of knowledge and experiences.

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The last way in which a former mentee can become a law mentor is by actually growing as an attorney. This will mean that the attorney will have a determinant background in the law practice. Also, it will mean that it is a successful and knowledgeable figure. When this happens, usually a law association spots the former mentee and offers it to become a mentor.

There are some associations in the United States who are dedicated to helping law-students become experienced and well-rounded professionals. These associations look for mentor candidates based on the student’s needs and want.

Bottom line, there is not only one way in which a law mentee could become a mentor. It is a process in which knowledge is gradually gained. It is also a new step that needs to be taken in order to help the new generations of attorneys to come be successful.