Whilst exam training focuses on developing technical skills most firms need managers and partners who also have a broad mix of business skills. As promotion is likely to depend upon such skills there are essentially only four options available to your firm. They will either:
- pray, hope or make a wish that you magically develop all the necessary skills so they can justify promoting you;
- send you on a range of generic personal skills courses and pray, hope or make a wish(!) that you pick up and practice sufficient tips to make the time and effort worthwhile;
- arrange for you to receive personal, tailored mentoring that overcomes the problems inherent in the “courses” approach; or
- recruit someone else who already has proven business skills across the board.
Some firms combine the last two options and arrange mentoring as an additional benefit to attract potential recruits. In such cases the mentor is usually an independent third party; this evidences the firm’s commitment to the new candidate and will be a positive supplement to the firm’s conventional induction process.
Mentoring by an internal senior partner with sufficient time, talent and commitment – or by a trusted third-party – can be equally motivating for managers, senior managers and even junior partners where traditional ‘hopes’ and courses have not enabled them to yet achieve their potential or to be as profitable as the other partners would prefer.