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10 Ways to be a Good Mentor

Updated on April 14, 2013
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Would you be a good mentor?

To find out if you would be a good mentor, first answer these questions to learn more about yourself. The better you understand about yourself and your past, the more you have to offer.

  1. What type of challenges have you faced?
  2. How did you get help in these situations?
  3. What gave you the inner strength to move forward in your life?
  4. How did you encourage yourself? What did you say to your self?
  5. Where did you find hope and inspiration?
  6. Throughout your journey, how did gratitude and self-effort help you progress?
  7. What did you learn from others experiences that allowed you to focus on your goals?
  8. Do you have the patience and perseverance to stick with a mentee for as long as they need?

How can I be a better mentor?

Be accessible
A mentor’s first priority is to be available. Communication is the key to a solid relationship between a mentor and mentee. It doesn’t matter if the interaction is through phone, email, or in person as long as it is done regularly. A relationship may be situational, seasonal, or for life. Meeting as often as possible or as needed is great, but depending on the relationship, not always necessary.
Be yourself
Become a good mentor by using your own life experiences. Share your mistakes and failures. Share your challenges and achievements. In choosing the appropriate stories, your mentee will take away the knowledge and insight they need.
Be a positive role model
A great mentor has the trust and respect of their mentee. A good mentor will look for new experiences or situations that his/her mentee can observe. A mentee can learn a lot just from watching their mentor’s behavior.
Be genuinely interested in your mentee as an individual
The relationship between a mentor and a mentee is very important and personal. A good mentor will know their mentee’s hopes, dreams, and personal interests then help them achieve their goals.
Be a good listener
A great mentor knows how to be a sounding board for a mentee. A mentee needs someone to talk things out with; and it is a mentor’s job to listen. It is your job to know all about a mentee’s problems and frustrations, but not to fix them. The mentee needs to overcome the obstacles themselves in order to increase self-confidence.
Ask open questions
Exceptional mentoring is about teaching people how to think rather than what to think. Asking questions like “What do you think you should do in this situation?” forces the mentee to think for themselves, take responsibility, and make their own decisions.
Provide a fresh perspective and share your network
A good mentor will usually have the ability to give objective feedback on a mentee’s issues. This will allow the mentee to gain a new perspective on the situation. A mentor will also introduce his/her mentee to others to foster growth and open them up to new opportunities.
Provide helpful feedback and acknowledge achievements
Not all feedback is helpful. A good mentor will know when to provide feedback and when to wait. Plus, providing feedback in a positive way is always more productive. Start off with a compliment about a mentee’s achievements, then give some direct feedback on how they can improve, and end with encouraging words.
Offer advice, if asked for it
Allow your mentee to discuss the situation with you and help them work through the issue; coming to their own conclusions without telling them what to do. This will teach them to trust their own judgment. However, be aware of your limits. If a situation is too serious for you to handle, contact outside sources. Emergency trumps confidentiality every time.
Have fun and be patient
Most of all just have fun. Remember to have engaging experiences and be patient with your mentee. It takes time to build a strong relationship and the best way is through fun activities. A good mentor expects discipline, but fosters adventure and creativity.

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