THE ADVOCATE 877
VOL. 78 PART 6 NOVEMBER 2020
decide when to share a personal experience. If the experience can be linked
to an improvement in one or more of these dimensions in the mentor’s own
life, then it can be inspiring and highly relevant to a mentee. But a good
mentor must always consider the purpose behind sharing a personal experience.
Is the purpose to sow hope and inspire the mentee, or is the purpose
centered on a mentor’s objective? This consideration forms part of the
boundaries that exist in healthy mentor–mentee relationships. A good mentor
is conscious of where their role begins and ends in the relationship and
is able to acknowledge and integrate clear boundaries.
A good mentor must be prepared to meet their mentee. This means
ensuring the mentee has the mentor’s full and undivided attention. To
accomplish this, good mentors are self-reflective and honest. They “check
in” with themselves physically and mentally. They reflect on whether they
are bringing any prejudices or biases to the meeting. They consider their
physical well-being: Will their sleep, diet or exercise habits influence their
ability to be fully present? They consider their emotional well-being: Are
they irritated, angry, sad and too distracted to engage with their mentee?
Regardless of whether the meeting is in person, on the phone or online, the
environment should be conducive to communication and confidentiality.
Finally, a great way for a mentor to monitor the relationship with a
mentee is to regularly apply the “keep, stop, start” model to the relationship.
What should the mentor keep doing—what seem to be working to create
progress and positive momentum? What should the mentor stop
doing—what is really just filling time and is unproductive? And what should
the mentor start doing—what is missing from the relationship and should
be explored? Regularly and honestly assessing the relationship, and being
unafraid to explore new practices, is an empowering collaborative experience
for both the mentor and the mentee and will only make the relationship
stronger and more effective.
Acting as a mentor requires hard work, honesty, diligence and compassion—
many of the same skills that successful lawyers have. When done
well, it can be extremely challenging, but also deeply rewarding. We at
LAPBC would love to help you develop your mentoring skills, especially by
ensuring you are able to focus on your own well-being and that of your
The Lawyers Assistance Program is an independent organization of members of the legal community (lawyers, judges
families and support staff). We provide peer support and referral services to help people deal with personal problems,
including alcohol and drug dependence, stress, anxiety and depression. We are volunteers and staff committed to providing
confidential, compassionate and knowledgeable outreach, support and education. We seek to foster collegiality among our
peers and to promote health and well-being in our community. You can reach LAP by telephone at 604-685-2171, toll-free
at 1-888-685-2171 or via the LAP website: <www.lapbc.com>.