When you’re good at what you do inevitably the day will come when someone – an employee, student or acquaintance – comes to you seeking guidance. They are looking for a mentor, and to them, you fit the bill perfectly.
Mentoring someone can be a little intimidating. After all, helping someone to shape their life is a big responsibility. It’s natural to even question whether you have what it takes to be a great mentor.
7 Things All Great Mentors Have Mastered
Mentors are human like everyone else, so perfection is not realistic or expected. However, there are a few things that great mentors have in common when it comes to how they handle the responsibility of mentorship.
Leading by Example
We’ve all heard the phrase,“talk is cheap.”It’s far easier to say you will do something than to actually do it. Don’t fall into this trap: any advice you give a mentee should be words that you live by as well.
Instilling a Sense of Passion in Their Mentees
The greatest of mentors inspire their mentees and become a living example to emulate. They do so by exuding a genuine passion for their work. Mentors must also believe in their mentee to give them the confidence they need to turn their own passion into the life and/or career they want.
Listening and Understanding
The only way a person can give sound advice in any instance is to listen. Great mentors are amazingly good listeners that take the time to fully understand their mentees. They learn about the mentee’s life, dreams, goals, and also take what they say into consideration before providing their input.
Giving Guidance That Goes Beyond Work
Even if you are mentoring in the career capacity, you must have an understanding of a mentee’s personal goals to provide the best advice on making their work and personal life coexist harmoniously. And no matter how professional the relationship is, it’s natural for a personal connection to form between a mentee and mentor. After all, mentees open up to great mentors. Supportive mentoring has proven to have a powerful effect on a mentees entire life by reducing family-work conflict and stress. At the end of the day it’s the person, not the employee, that matters most.
Helping Mentees Forge Their Own Path
Your mentee can follow in your footsteps but only for so long. Eventually they will need to forge their own paths – which is something that great mentors encourage. The best mentors understand what worked for them may not produce the exact same results for their mentees. And they don’t want their mentee to remain in their shadow. The ultimate reward for a mentor is to have their mentee make a name for themselves.
The role of a mentor means dishing out a lot of hard truth and honesty. Expect to tell your mentee the things they may not want to hear but have to hear. How you deliver the information is up to you and your mentee, but you can never withhold the truth.
Being Available Over the Long Haul
One or two coffee break discussions doesn’t constitute a mentorship. Mentoring is a long-term commitment that requires both parties be present and invested. Great mentors are people that can be counted on through thick and thin. Even long after the mentee has moved up the ranks and is well on their way they’ll always think of you as one of their mentors.
The ONE Thing every great mentor strives for is to make a positive impression in the lives of their mentees. How have you positioned yourself to be the best mentor you can be?