Whether you’re looking for a good mentor or you’re thinking of becoming one, the mentor-mentoree relationship can prove highly beneficial to both parties involved. However, a great adviser isn’t necessarily easy to come by or become. So, if you want to be one, here are five traits you need to be successful, and if you are looking for one, make sure they have these characteristics.
First and foremost, the mentor has to want to take on this commitment to lead another person and have the drive to follow through. The only responsibility of the mentor should not be to simply show up for a weekly or monthly meeting. To truly be a great councilor, there has to be a vision of what the final result looks like and a plan on how to get there.
Good listening skills are a must for anyone wanting to lead another. Ultimately, this relationship is about helping the mentoree grow and learn, and the only way to understand where they’re coming from is to comprehend what they’re trying to communicate. This means both hearing what they’re saying, and understanding what they’re implying.
When someone asks a particular person to be their mentor, there are specific reasons they chose that one special person, probably ranging from background to personality fit to work experiences. That means the leader must be willing to share what they did right in their career. Bragging isn’t required, but there needs to be honest conversations surrounding the choices and actions that led to the mentor’s current level of success.
At the same time, a truly great advisor shouldn’t be afraid to open up about past mistakes. Just as much – if not more – can be learned from poor decisions as good ones. So, the mentor must be unashamed to discuss former blunders. Those blunders have shaped them into what they are now, which means their protégé needs to hear all about them in order to learn and hopefully avoid those same mistakes in the future.
If the mentor is stuck in the past and only knows what worked 15 years ago, then the mentoree will be severely limited in what they learn and take away. Certainly some principles are timeless, but every teacher needs to understand the current business environment and changing trends in order to really bring value to the relationship.
If the right people act as mentors, then everyone benefits from a mentoring program. The mentors are able to pass on their knowledge and learn new things. The mentored are able to grow their leadership skills and have a trusted adviser to get answers from. And, especially if the mentoring is done as part of a workplace program, businesses retain prepared, trained successors ready to step up when needed. All it takes is dedication from both those searching for the right mentor and those wanting to pass on their knowledge and experience.