What do you think are good qualities to have as a mentor?
Self-awareness and flexibility and the ability to empathise and to listen actively to what is said and not said. Genuine curiosity and interest in the individual you are mentoring and a non-judgmental approach to how they show up and what they tell you.
Do you have any advice for aspiring mentors, or those who might have just started mentoring someone for the first time?
Try to take a facilitative approach rather than a directive one. The common understanding of mentoring is that it involves the giving of tips and advice by the more experienced mentor, and this can certainly play an important part. However, experience has taught me to coach mentees to find their own answers whenever I can. It’s also important to remember to focus on the person and their thinking when the temptation is to jump straight in and try to resolve their apparent career issue. Listen for their potential and then let them know that you see it. And use your experience to tailor the right questions to stimulate their thinking.
What would you say to recommend mentoring to other alumni?
You are likely to benefit just as much as the mentee. This is what the research tells us, and it has certainly been my experience. There is nothing more satisfying than revisiting an earlier stage in work and life with your mentee and seeing them begin to flourish with the help of your support. The skills that you are using can be an important part of your own personal and professional development and the friendships that develop can be hugely rewarding.
What (or who) has had the biggest influence on you to help you achieve your success?
There have been so many but my parents, in particular, with their unconditional love, support and unwavering belief in me. Three senior lawyers who took me under their wing at different stages of my legal career and who empowered me with their trust and friendship. My two coach trainers who encouraged me to give up practicing law to become a professional coach, and the many colleagues, clients and friends who have provided helpful feedback and opportunities to build my practice.
How can King’s Connect help?
I have been mentoring with King’s for a number of years and I have seen them develop their offering and platform to a level where it now makes volunteering as a mentor so easy and rewarding. In addition to the core alumni mentoring, King’s now offers specialist leadership and diversity mentoring and some of the schools and departments offer their own tailored support too. If you are motivated to get involved, the process is quick and convenient, and you have full control over how many mentees you work with and how much time you allocate.
In 2022, 575 volunteers contributed over 2900 hours towards the King's Global Day of Service - will you help us go further in 2023?
Mentor through King's Connect this March for your volunteering hours to be included towards our Global Day of Service total. You can find out all you need to know about Global Day of Service at www.kcl.ac.uk/giving/service/global-day-service