7 qualities of a great mentor
A capable and invested mentor can boost your professional knowledge and help you reach your career goals. Some of the characteristics that make a great mentor include:
- Values respect
- Gives honest feedback
- Actively listens
- Advocates on your behalf
- Knows your industry
- Motivates others
- Constantly learns
1. Values respect
You can tell a person values respect by the ways they interact with others. They’re professional, friendly and open to others’ opinions. These individuals are also respected by those around them and might be praised for their kindness, work ethic or unique business ideas. These qualities not only make mentors better at sharing knowledge and wanting to understand your goals, but valuable resources for sharing contacts and teaching you how to build helpful relationships that can better your career.
2. Gives honest feedback
An invested mentor gives honest and constructive feedback. This can be extremely beneficial because it helps you hone your strengths and improve areas that might be weaker.
3. Actively listens
Active listeners make people feel understood and valued. They also retain more knowledge from conversations and are able to more effectively problem-solve issues that come up in conversation. This is a valuable skill for a mentor to model, as well as a highly useful asset in a mentoring relationship.
4. Advocates on your behalf
If there’s someone within your company or industry who continuously supports your projects or ideas and makes a point to acknowledge your value, they might make an excellent mentor. A great mentor provides advice and champions your ideas and career.
5. Knows your industry
A capable mentor knows your industry. This helps you increase your industry knowledge and expand your professional network.
6. Motivates others
Mentors have a positive outlook and they want to share that enthusiasm with others. This is an important quality as their zeal for their work can inspire and motivate you to pursue your goals.
7. Constantly learns
The best mentors are always learning. They share knowledge on the latest industry trends and encourage learning throughout your career.
Business mentorship FAQs
Choosing a mentor is an important, but exciting decision. The following FAQs can help you have the conversation and make the right choice:
- How do I ask someone to be my mentor?
- Does a mentor have to be someone you work with?
- Can I have more than one mentor at a time?
- What if my mentor doesn’t want to mentor me?
How do I ask someone to be my mentor?
Have an in-person conversation with them explain that you’d value their guidance on a career change, furthering your goals, or navigating career options at your current employer. You can also mention your hope to benefit from their expertise in the industry. Most potential mentors are happy to help.
Does a mentor have to be someone you work with?
Your mentor can be someone within your workplace, although you can also have a mentor who works outside of your company in your industry. A professional relationship with each of these types of mentors can help you navigate short and long term career goals.
Can I have more than one mentor at a time?
You can definitely have more than one mentor at a given time. You could have one mentor within your organization for company-related advice, and another mentor who works within your industry that you enlist for career guidance. Mentors can even come from other industries because a lot of what a mentor is teaching you is how to make strategic decisions about your career, and successful people from all walks of life can share valuable advice.
What if my mentor doesn’t want to mentor me?
While some people may have the skills and qualities for mentoring, it may not always be the right timing. Mentoring requires an investment of time and if a mentoring candidate can’t accommodate you, don’t take it personally.
Ask your mentor if there is anyone they’d recommend or if there are professional organizations that might be a good source. Additionally, a school alumni association is an excellent source for contacts who can eventually become mentors