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advice on what to cover in a mentoring course


I am putting together a mentoring course for our legally qualified staff to enable them to have the skills to mentor new lawyers. I have the basics i need from the TNA undertaken but I would like to try something different or innovative. Any suggestions?
craig mitchell

9 Responses

  1. ideal mentor
    I ran a mentoring programme in a company a couple of years ago and one of the brief, fun exercises we did went like this.
    Delegates brainstormed the “characteristics of an ideal mentor” then they produced a cartoon utilising all the characteristics. The best cartoon was then reproduced professionally and copies were posted on the office walls. It helped to focus peoples mind on their responsibility on a day to day basis.
    This doesn’t help with the skill but it certainly helped with the will.

  2. Mentor debate
    Craig ,Consider using Noel Tichy’s ‘leadership timeline’ – this helps delegates to reflect on key moments in thier own development and faciliate reflection on how a mentor helped (or could have)

    *Then brain storm the effective mentor qualities.

    *Stress successful metoring is voluntary to and can also be ‘opinionated’rather than non directive coaching.

    *Run two separate workshops (at the same time)- one for the mentees and one for the mentors , and then allow the mentees to select in a coming together of both workshops to select thier mentors .(the power of selection MUST reside with the mentee)

    * Get the whole group to decide what ‘confidentiality’ means in the mentor relationship

  3. Resources to top up mentor skills and motivation
    Dear Craig,

    Congratulations on getting your mentoring process going! For 30+ years we have been researching, developing, and improving excellent practices in mentoring processes. The mentors’ motivation is a key critical success factor. Feedback and recognition appropriate to the culture is essential to maintain that motivation.

    The legal profession has a culture of its own, and recognition is truly valued. We have a job aid, To Improve Performance Success (TIPS) for Mentors, 10 pages of quick reference for communicating and giving feedback during interactions with protégés. It can stand on a desk or fit into a jacket pocket. Intriguing enough to cause mentors to use it!! Look at it on the MMHA web site.

    Also, Ida Abbott (who is an Attorney) has published a book on mentoring in the legal profession. You may get some more tips there.

    best wishes,

    President & Chief Operating Officer
    MMHA The Managers’ Mentors, Inc.

  4. Get linked in
    Craig – I liked Steve and Russell’s ideas and the mention of Noel Tichy has prompted me to offer the following thoughts which I hope are useful!

    There’s a lot of experience and knowledge about good practice out there (knowing where to find it can be the problem).

    If you get linked in to the European Council of Coaching & Mentoring at you’ll get a good view of the state of play in the burgeoning coaching-mentoring field.

    Practically, my slant is that training should enable safe, high-performance mentoring partnerships by providing participants with what they need to maximise the benefits: knowledge and skills, and clarity on scope, boundaries & process.

    Email me for a copy of this!

    Innovative dimensions, in possible order of their use, could be:
    * self-assessment and even peer assessment against ‘good mentor’ or ‘good mentee’ criteria within safe groups
    * for more engagement, groups could add their own criteria to these, and comment on others’ ideas
    * short third-party case studies which focus on key mentoring issues for groups to ‘solve’
    * practical mini-practices, in pairs, on discrete skills and process items
    * triads of mentor / mentee / observer where the roles rotate and you circulate
    * a session where mentees discuss how to get the most out of their mentor: they are driving this after all
    * a’hot seat’ live practice with open pairs in front of the group … testing, to do late on in the training.

    Nick McBain

  5. mentoring course
    Some great ideas here.

    I ran a mentoring programme for senior engineers some time ago. 2 points occur to me.
    1. It was important to get them to draw on their experience rather than assume they were starting from scratch. One way of doing this was to get them to recall how they themselves were helped by a mentor, formal or informal, in their early career. This worked very well in leading to a list “what a good mentor does, and the effect it has” that was based on real personal experience.

    2. Towards the end of the day I sat them in a circle, with myself included. Then I said “I am going to be a mentee. You are all my mentor. The rule of this exercise is – in your turn you can say one thing or ask one question. When I reply, the next person has to pick it up and carry on. This is a diffilcult exercise so let’s do our best.”
    The good thing about this exercise is that shows people where they are not adding value. I could be helpful or tricky in the way I (in role) responded depending on their level of skill.

    It’s a very effective exercise

  6. Mentoring qualification
    I thought people might be interested in the Mentoring Programme which we run from here at CETAD, Lancaster University (either on-site here or at premises anywhere in the UK). The interesting thing about it is that it leads to a Lancaster University Certificate in Mentoring. We’ve been running it for a few years now and people say that it really makes a difference to themselves and their organisations. E-mail me for further information!

  7. Mentoring Body of Knowledge
    How could I forget an important resource for you???

    The International Mentoring Association has a Mentoring Body of Knowledge with over 4,000 titles that is searchable. It would be well worth your investment to become a member and share ideas to sustain the effectiveness of your mentoring process.
    The 18th Annual Conference is in Oakland, CA April 6-9, 2005. Come join, learn, and share!
    Volunteer Board Director, IMA

  8. Demonstration
    I have run several courses for lawyers in mentoring and would echo some of the excellent ideas given. One of the biggest challenges is getting the lawyers to stop giving advice because that is what their training has always encouraged them to do with clients. I therefore do exercises with scripted role plays that they have to rewrite and I also do a demonstration of mentoring skills by getting someone in the group to be the mentee and I do some mentoring. I have only recently started doing this and have found that the subsequent ‘practice’ sessions are more likely to go in the right direction as a consequence of seeing it in practice than they had before.
    I have also found that doing exercises on how to develop network skills with the younger lawyers is an enjoyable learning tool both for the mentors and for the newly qualified solicitors.
    Hope it all goes well

  9. Mentoring training content
    I run coaching and mentoring training courses for a national training organisation, as well as for various other organisations and many coaches directly and in my experience the 10 key things that mentors need to know are:
    1. what motivates people to learn
    2. what they can learn
    3. how and why they learn or do not learn to communicate to motivate, especially good questioning and listening skills
    5. how to agree goals, boundaries and ways of working together that will motivate – ie to “contract” with the mentee to help mentees create action plans
    7. how to gain mentee commitment to implement the plans
    8. how to help the mentee review their own progress (to develop praise and challenges for themselves)
    9. how to develop confidence and competence in the mentee
    10. how to wind up the relationship in a positive way
    If you want a copy of the the contents page of the 2-day course I run – please email me.


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