Why are mentors essential for your future career growth?

No matter what your duties are or how large your firm is, one of the best ways to set yourself up for success is to seek out professional mentorship opportunities. The mentorship role has re-emerged and exponentially grown in popularity in recent years due to the ideal promoting an environment of one where one new employee learnsing from a veteran one.

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While managers and executives can fulfill certain mentorship qualities, such as giving providing support, advice or industry wisdom, you can also seek a mentorship relationship from someone who is not your direct superior. Mentors who are not direct superiors may be preferable because you may want to maintain boundaries with your supervisor, may feel more comfortable being open and honest, or could more closely align with your career status and aspirations, among other benefits.

Within the specific context of the law office, you should try to form two different types of mentor bonds. One should would ideally be with an attorney who can guide you through the legal minefield, while the other should be with an experienced paralegal. Both can offer advice, support and an opportunity to learn to allow you to do your job more effectively. Though you learn varying skills and concentrate on different issues from your attorney and paralegal mentors, both offer significant benefits to your professional growth.

You can count on your mentors to give your career the boost it needs to thrive in a new work environment. If you are considering seeking out this kind of work relationship, here are several reasons why mentors are essential to your future career:

Mentors may provide a removed, unbiased perspective

Unlike your own viewpoint or those of friends — which are influenced by your relationships, experiences and current situation — mentors may provide a perspective removed and unbiased from the topic of discussion that allows them to carefully analyze your actions, performance and attitude without censor. You can count on them to provide constructive criticism or praise without any ulterior motive. You need a workplace mentor who will be brutally honest with you, rather than downplay any weaknesses or shortcomings they see. While it might be jarring at first, this guidance can help you to grow and develop as a paralegal professional.

Mentors offer key office insight

If you are new to the paralegal field or a law office, you might not be familiar with the office politics, power dynamic or simply the way the attorneys and paralegals conduct their work. This is where your mentor can help. They have likely been in the office for a few years, allowing them to provide you with insider knowledge about how to operate or interact around the office. This insight will help you thrive in your new position or environment, leaving less room for errors along the way.

Mentors find ways to stimulate growth

Without even knowing it, your mentor may be pushing you to succeed in ways you wouldn’t have realized before. Simply having someone encouraging and advising you in your career stimulates professional growth in unique ways. You may have a challenging time on self-evaluation, be unsure about your desired career arc, or not be aware of a pending job opening or promotion. A mentor could have insight into those blind spots and offer stimulating discussions.

Overall, mentorship is not about them forming you into their own image. It’s about helping others unlock their own potential. Mentors may set certain goals and then observe you during the process through peer feedback, direct involvement or your own conversations, guiding and giving advice when needed.

Mentors are trusted advisors

While the precise degree of this advisory role varies based on the relationship or the organization, your mentors can serve as someone you can trust completely in your office. If you face a problem or difficult situation, they can be the one you turn to for advice or support. Within this same line of thought, mentors can also be your sounding board for new ideas or opinions. Maybe you have an idea for a better way to improve team or personal office productivity levels or how to service clients. Running these thoughts by a helpful mentor before bringing them to your boss could allow you to flesh out ideas, explore possible outcomes and address any coworker-related issues, such as stepping on someone’s toes or going outside the scope of a job, before you talk with a direct supervisor.

Mentors are well-connected

If they have been on the job for a while, mentors likely have a numerous valuable industry or office connections worth speaking about. For ambitious paralegals, this networking opportunity could be just what you need to advance your career at a more intense pace. Even if these connections don’t warrant career advancement, your mentor could still introduce you to key office or industry players to help you gain further insight into the field.

Mentors help you avoid beginner’s mistakes

Starting at a new company can be challenging enough without having to worry about the expansive job scope required in the paralegal field. This is why having a mentor can make the new job transition process infinitely easier. While no one expects you to be perfect at your job right away, mentors may be able to help you avoid making numerous beginner’s mistakes that could have lasting repercussions. Mentors don’t want you to make the same mistakes they made when they were first starting out, which is why they may have plenty of stories and vital advice to share.

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The core tenets of mentorship — such as guidance, advice, insight and collaboration — are similar to students’ experiences in a graduate program. Expand your knowledge of paralegal studies and gain another mentor in the faculty at the George Washington University Master’s in Paralegal Studies online program.

As one of the few paralegal master’s degrees in the country, our faculty discusses the skills, experience and knowledge many paralegals use to excel in the industry. Contact one of our program representatives today to learn more about our rigorous curriculum that you may find helpful to enter into the legal field, along with our flexible online offerings to meet the demands of your schedule.

Sources:

http://fortune.com/2015/02/18/6-key-benefits-of-having-a-mentor/

https://www.ache.org/newclub/career/MentorArticles/Benefits.cfm

https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newCDV_72.htm

https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevenberglas/2012/02/02/seven-reasons-most-people-need-a-mentor/#6319d23f8412

https://www.inc.com/john-rampton/10-reasons-why-a-mentor-is-a-must.html

https://www.thebalance.com/how-can-a-mentor-benefit-your-career-526243

https://www.blueskycoaching.com.au/pdf/v4i11_mentors.pdf

https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnkotter/2013/01/30/the-often-overlooked-but-invaluable-benefits-of-mentorship/#41e9ef151958

http://www.lawcrossing.com/article/900010234/Mentors-and-Mentoring-in-a-Paralegals-Life/

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