Please allow me to quote from Katie Black, a dedicated and accomplished Ottawa-based litigation counsel (and Advocacy Club member). “I have learned as much from my mentees as I have from my mentors. The dialogue and creation of shared goals and accountability demonstrates respect and creates the relationship of trust. Sharing your goals makes them real and therefore achievable.”
It would be enough for senior professionals to “give back” to their profession by serving as mentors. The fact is that givers get. Junior professionals have a lot to offer their seniors. Senior professionals have needs, if only because they are human. Who better than a trusted professional to meet those needs? As the relationship blossoms, the dividing line blurs between who is mentor and who is mentee. Clearly, junior mentees often become excellent mentors in their own right. This track record can start as they perform that very function with their own mentor.
Mentoring is not all roses, compliments and good times. Mentees need far more than a pat on the back. This is what Katie refers to as “accountability”. Mentors make suggestions. Mentees should take them to heart, although the suggestions are rarely perfect solutions. Accountability is all about what happens next.
A trial lawyer since 1978, I have extensive experience in the art of asking questions, both in and out of the courtroom. I use my expertise to teach lawyers how to ask questions effectively to build rapport in interview situations. I also help politicians develop the skills necessary to adeptly handle questions from debate opponents, from the press and from the public. I am the author of a series of handbooks on the subject of interview skills for professionals.