Qualities of a Good Mentor

Today’s Leaders are Mentors. At its core, being a mentor is a trusted advisor. It is leading another person through a one-to-one relationship, supporting and advising someone when they need it and keeping that person’s best interest in mind.

Mentors can be peer mentors, career mentors, life mentors, they can be your manager, co-worker, parent, friend… anyone who’s been an excellent advisor at some point in your life. There is no time limit to how long a person can be a mentor. Mentorship is all about supporting another person, sharing the knowledge you have from our own experiences while assisting another to be successful.

Tips to be a good Mentor:

1.    Each mentorship is unique.

Each person you encounter is unique and the relationship you have with everyone is slightly different, thus you must approach each mentorship differently. Being a mentor is relationship building at its very core. In order to build trust, you will need to learn about the person, learn about their communication style, their working style, their goals, likes & dislikes etc. It is about taking a personal interest in each mentee.

2.    Be an Active Listener.

A key to taking a genuine interest in becoming an active listener. Being an active listener is listening more and asking questions and listening again. Mentors do not solve the problems for the mentee but guide them. They help to remove roadblocks and builds bridges.

3.    Set Goals Mutually.

Develop accountability not only for the mentee but also the mentor. Make sure the goals are in bite sizes and achievable so that both parties will be able to see progress.

4.    Share your mistakes.

Being open to sharing and owning your mistakes and failures is one of the best gifts as a mentor can give. By sharing your challenges, successes and failures provide helpful information in problem-solving, builds trust and gives the mentee permission to share their own mistakes. Ultimately it is through the weaknesses we each have that strengthens the relationship.

5.    Celebrate their achievements.

Be creative, you don’t have to wait for milestones to celebrate.

6.    Lead by example.

Be positive and enthusiastic. Enthusiasm is contagious, you want your mentee to feel as if their job as meaning.

7.    Give honest constructive feedback.

Giving honest constructive feedback, identifying both strengths and weaknesses will help the mentee be successful in their field.  Provide challenges that will help the mentee stretch and grow. Be careful that your feedback does not cross over to criticism. The role of a mentor is to build up, strengthen and stretch the mentee.

8.    Open Doors.

As a mentor, you have connections and contacts that will be beneficial to the mentee. Introduce them to people in your network.

As I reflect on the people whom I have met and associated with in my life, both life mentors and business mentors one of my greatest mentors was a former manager. His first day on the job he came to my office pulled up a chair and said: “show me what you do”. I responded well to his personal hands-on approach to wanting to understand my job and duties. From that very first day, we were able to build a strong working relationship where he was able to assist me in areas of growth that I never before considered. I will always be grateful to his example, patience and direction he provided. Remember that as you mentor others, it takes practice and patience.  


By: Cheryl Viola , Executive Director