Do you have a passion to see others do well? Could you use your experience, skills, and knowledge to help others reach their potential? You should consider being a mentor.
Good mentors are those who give others a headstart. Whether they’re a new parent, employee, young person, or an aspiring leader, a good mentor can make all the difference.
What makes an effective mentor?
This is the question I asked myself in preparation for a workshop I was invited to deliver.
I immediately thought back to when I was a school Learning Mentor, and then later as a team leader in order to list the skills I felt were most important for effectiveness in my roles.
The list was comprehensive and included the ability to ask good questions, listen actively, set goals, show empathy, and be non-judgmental.
After that, I considered those who’d mentored me over the years.
I thought of the qualities that had helped and inspired me, and among others, came up with these seven.
Read through them, see how they might apply to you, then add your comment at the end.
#1. An effective mentor is a lifelong learner
Personal development is important. Good mentors are committed to nurturing habits that help their growth. They also take responsibility for setting and reviewing ongoing personal and professional goals.
By keeping an open mind, mentors model the importance of learning to their mentee’s.
#2. Effective mentors see the bigger picture
Good mentors see the big picture. They don’t consider their meetings to be informal chats or catch ups, but recognise that their purpose is to facilitate another persons’ growth.
They’ll consider their role in the mentee’s life as significant, and count it a privilege to help them in reaching their goals.
#3. They know the importance of being transparent
Effective mentors build rapport. This’ll mean being vulnerable, open, and transparent. It’ll require being human! They’ll share insights, wisdom and advice from their own experiences, failures and successes.
#4. Effective mentors practice what they teach
Good mentors who are those who take their own advice.
The mentors who work best with others have themselves had experience of being mentored. They value mentoring because they’ve known the benefits of having a mentor as part of their development.
#5. They believe that life change happens
Effective mentors believe that people can change.
They’re committed to helping people take steps to make the changes necessary for them to discover, develop, and flourish in their purpose.
#6. They offer guidance and feedback
A mentor is someone who will offer constructive feedback. This will prove invaluable in the growth of anyone being mentored, as they can use this to identify strengths and areas for development.
“The delicate act of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.” Steven Spielberg
Good mentoring empowers others to reach their potential.
#7. They’re committed to the process
Good mentors take their responsibility seriously and know that lasting change takes time. They see the relationship as an investment, so will follow through when needed.
They allocate structured time, as they understand the value of meeting consistently and regularly, rather than on an ad hoc basis.
It’s through structure that mentors establish rapport, build trust, and help people to best make progress.
We all need to be mentored
Both personally and professionally, we all benefit from having a mentor. And by working with a mentor that has these seven qualities, we increase our chances of success in all areas of life.
Also, as we develop these qualities for ourselves, we too become better mentors to others.
Over to you
What’s been your experience of being mentored and how helpful was it? In what area of your life might you benefit from having a mentor now or in the future? Who are you a mentor to, and what are you learning in the process?
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