If you’re looking for your own role model for a great mentor, I believe you can learn a great deal from one of the greatest coaches in the history of sports: John Wooden.

UCLA remarkably won the NCAA basketball championship 10 out of 11 years from 1964 through 1975, with a wide variety of different players and different teams. Yet, Coach Wooden’s principles never changed.

We all know that practicing law in a firm has changed dramatically over the last several years, but the principles of integrity, professionalism and client service have not changed.

As a mentor, you need to help mentees understand how changes in the law practice affect them, while exhibiting the time honored principles.

Here are five lessons mentors can learn from Coach Wooden:

  1. Character matters: A mentor must gain trust by our actions before he or she can effectively offer advice.
  2. Define Success: Convey to mentees that they should work on becoming the best lawyer they can be and help them set goals to exceed their personal best.
  3. Teach mentees to do the little things right. If they do, the big things will follow.
  4. Show mentees that being industrious and preparing and executing a well conceived plan are the keys to success.
  5. Anticipate and be prepared to make changes to stay on top.

The legal profession is changing more rapidly in the past few years than in the century preceding them. But lawyers of high principles need not and should not change.