8 Qualities of a Good Mentor

Good mentors do not take their roles lightly. They feel invested in the success of the mentee. Usually, this requires someone who is knowledgeable, compassionate, and possesses the attributes of a good teacher or trainer. Excellent communication skills also are required. A good mentor is committed to helping their mentees find success and gratification in their chosen professions. Overall good mentoring requires empowering the mentee to develop their own strengths, beliefs, and personal attributes.

A good mentor exhibits the personal attributes it takes to be successful in the field. By showing the mentee what it takes to be productive and successful, they are demonstrating the specific behaviors and actions required to succeed in the field. Remember, the positive attitude must go both ways. It’s important that you always treat your mentor with the utmost professionalism. If you are lucky enough to find a mentor, hold on tight, and take the relationship seriously. A good mentor is hard to find, and most people don’t have mentors. Don’t take the relationship for granted. A good mentoring relationship provides new employees as well as interns with someone who will share their professional knowledge and expertise in the field. A good mentor is available to answer any questions relevant to the job.

Good mentor-mentee relationships are a two-way street, so show a genuine interest in your mentor and a willingness to do what it takes to become successful as an intern or new employee in the field. Following suggestions and recommendations as well as reading all pertinent literature available in the field is a good way to show your mentor that you are committed to being successful and that you take your career and responsibilities seriously.

01
Willingness to Share Skills, Knowledge, and Expertise

A mentor and mentee

Caiaimage/RobertDaly/Ojo/Getty images

A good mentor is willing to teach what he knows and accept the mentee where they currently are in their professional development.

Always take time to stop talking about yourself and ask your mentor how he or she is doing. Ask them about their experiences and learn from their stories. Good mentors can remember what it was like just starting out in the field, so use their experience to your advantage.

02
Demonstrates a Positive Attitude and Acts as a Positive Role Model

A good mentor exhibits the personal attributes it takes to be successful in the field. By showing the mentee what it takes to be productive and successful, she demonstrates the specific behaviors and actions required to succeed in the field.

Remember, the positive attitude must go both ways. It’s important that you always treat your mentor with the utmost professionalism.

03
Takes a Personal Interest in the Mentoring Relationship

Good mentors do not take their responsibility lightly and feel invested in the success of the mentee. Usually, this requires someone who is knowledgeable, compassionate, and in possession of the attributes of a good teacher or trainer. Excellent communication skills also are required. A good mentor is committed to helping their mentees find success and gratification in their chosen profession. Overall good mentoring requires empowering mentees to develop their strengths, beliefs, and personal attributes.

04
Exhibits Enthusiasm in the Field

A mentor who does not exhibit enthusiasm about his job will not make a good mentor. Enthusiasm is catching, and new employees want to feel as if their job has meaning and the potential to create a good life.

Your mentor has to take a special interest in helping you build and develop as an executive. If they aren’t enthusiastic about you and the kind of work you are trying to do, it probably won’t work out.

05
Values Ongoing Learning and Growth in the Field

Mentors are in a position to illustrate how the field is growing and changing and that even after many years there still are new things to learn. Anyone who feels stagnant in their current position will not make a good mentor. When starting out in a new career, people want to feel that the time and energy they spend learning will be rewarded and will ultimately provide them with career satisfaction. Good mentors are committed and are open to experimenting and learning practices that are new to the field. They continually read professional journals and may even write articles on subjects where they have developed some expertise. They are excited to share their knowledge with new people entering the field and take their role seriously in teaching their knowledge to others. They may choose to teach or attend classes to further develop their knowledge and skills. They enjoy taking workshops and attending professional conferences provided through their membership in professional associations.

Finding a mentor who is committed to continued learning is important. You want someone who truly believes in the power of professional development, regardless of where they’re at in their career.

06
Provides Guidance and Constructive Feedback

One of the key responsibilities of a good mentor is to provide guidance and constructive feedback to their mentee. This is where the mentee most likely will grow the most by identifying their current strengths and weaknesses and learning how to use these to make themselves successful in the field. A good mentor possesses excellent communication skills and can adjust her communication to the personality style of the mentee. A good mentor also will provide the mentee with challenges that foster professional development and a feeling of accomplishment in learning the field.

As the mentee, it’s crucial that you listen to the feedback, don’t take it personally, and actually consider it. Remember, this feedback is coming from the right place.

07
Respected by Colleagues and Employees in All Levels of the Organization

Ideally, mentees look up to their mentors and can see themselves filling a mentor's role in the future. Mentees want to follow someone who is well respected by colleagues and coworkers and whose contribution in the field is appreciated.

Ask your mentor about his or her experiences working with their team, ask them about how they navigate sticky situations, and ask them about how they got to where they are.

08
Sets and Meets Ongoing Personal and Professional Goals

A good mentor continually sets a good example by showing how his habits are reflected by personal and professional goals and overall success.

That being said, your mentor is busy, and you have to respect that. They aren’t always going to be able to drop everything to speak with you. Make sure you don’t abuse the relationship–pick and choose what you bring to your mentor.