People who want to be their best often seek out mentors – people in their profession who have “been there and done that” and are willing to share their experiences to the end of shortening the learning curve for the seeker.
Mentorship programs abound these days, especially on the internet. I’ve recently entered a mentorship program and it has caused me to have greater clarity on this subject. So today, I want to share with you the qualities that make a good mentor. Unfortunately, you often don’t know whether the mentor has these qualities before investing in the program, but if you ask around about the reputation of your potential mentor, here are some things to consider.
- Authentic – the mentor “practices” what he “preaches.” A good mentor will not only tell you what the best approach is, but is utilizing the approach himself. He doesn’t send you in one direction while he goes another saying, “you have to learn the hard way.” The purpose of working with a mentor is to learn from his mistakes.
- Personally Involved – the mentor should take a personal interest in the mentoring relationship. She should get to know you, how you work, what your goals are, what your strengths and weaknesses are, and any other pertinent information that you (the mentee) believe to be relevant.
- Listens – a good mentor will genuinely listen to your concerns and not be eager to get the conversation over. You shouldn’t be a list item on your mentor’s day sheet. He should know your current projects by name and be able to ask you, first hand, how things are going.
- Continues to Learn and Grow – a good mentor knows that he couldn’t possibly know everything there is to know in any given field today – the world has become much too complex. Things change, people change, circumstances change – and it’s all great. A good mentor will remain open to new ideas and even try them.
- Assumes You’re Great – a good mentor doesn’t assume that you’re a loser just because you are coming to him for advice. He recognizes that you have talent and are successful already, (otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to afford his fee!). At the very least, he should see your potential or otherwise not take you on as a mentee.
- Builds You Up – A good mentor is tuned in, tapped in, turned on, and in their wholeness, they will uplift you. When someone fosters insecurity in you, they are not tuned in, tapped in, turned on, and they’re not a good mentor for you in that moment.
Before entering any mentorship/coaching program, ask for references and query them on these 6 attributes. If you’re not comfortable with the answers you receive, run, don’t walk, as fast as you can in the opposite direction!
Until next time,
Posted under Motivation
This post was written by Debra Moorhead, Motivational Speaker, Author, and Coach on February 19, 2009