Being a mentor is both a real privilege and a real responsibility, especially in the business world. By becoming a mentor, you’re not only working for your own gain, but you’re also working to impart skills and experience on someone younger and less experience who trusts you and looks up to you for advice and guidance. There are many ways to be a great mentor, but all great mentors share the same traits. Here are 5 of the most important things when it comes to being a great mentor to someone.
- Don’t just give answers: A good mentor won’t just do everything for their mentee and won’t give out special treatment when it comes to helping them. A good mentor will work with their mentee to overcome problems and give useful advice, but they won’t do the work themselves.
- Be present and available: There is a lot of trust involved in a mentor-mentee relationship and it’s important that the mentor doesn’t abuse that trust. The mentor must be available and present at all times so that when needed, they can help their mentee and guide them along the right path. A mentor who ignores their mentee won’t be very good — the mentee always comes first.
- Be prepared to blend the professional with the personal: A mentor-mentee should, ideally, be more than just a professionally-based relationship. They should support and enjoy each other’s company outside of the workspace and the mentor should know that the mentee may rely on them during difficult personal times due to the pre-established relationship.
- Listen well so you can give clear advice in murky times: When a mentor listens well, they can see things and come to conclusions that the mentee may never had simply due to the fact that they are A) more experienced in both life and business and B) emotionally unattached to the issue at hand. Use your listening skills to find out what your mentee is truly desiring, even if they don’t realize it yet.
- Demand accountability: While a mentor should praise and support, they should also demand strict accountability when it comes to work. This is the only way to truly help your mentee improve — they need to be able to take the blame for something that may have gone wrong.
Obviously there are many more ways than these 5 to be a good mentor. What are some of the best strategies that you’ve encountered as either a mentor or mentee? If you’d like to read more about a positive mentor-mentee experience, the link is here.