Mentoring offers a unique and tailored style of learning and development that you will struggle to find by any other means. But half of the struggle is finding the right mentor.
Committing yourself to a mentoring programme can be a huge investment of time, so we want to help you make sure that time is well spent.
Here are the Top 5 Qualities to Look for in a Great Mentor:
This encompasses relevant knowledge and experience of course, but it goes way beyond that. A wise mentor is someone who has weathered the storm and faced the challenges that you are currently trying to overcome.
A great mentor will not necessarily have a perfect track record of shiny achievements and absolutely no blunders of their own. We learn the most from our mistakes, and mentors are no different.
Find someone with some authentic life experience in your sector. These mentors will often have invaluable, unfiltered advice to offer you.
Be wary of a mentor who appears to be telling you what you want to hear. Expect constructive criticism when it comes to mentoring. If you aren’t receiving this, then the mentor is probably not a good fit for you.
Honesty goes a long way, not only in terms of pointing out your mistakes, but also in being frank about their own. A great mentor won’t hold back, and this is what mentoring is all about.
There are about a million other places to go if you want the same generic advice that everyone has access to. A great mentor tells it straight, and this is where real progress is made.
Another way to spot a great mentor is by how enthusiastic and willing they are to spill their tricks of the trade. Find someone who is in the mentoring business because they have a genuine and unpretentious passion for seeing others succeed.
Avoid a mentor who seems to hand over their expertise reluctantly, or who purposefully keeps things vague. Truly great mentors care about seeing you achieve your goals, and they will go the extra mile to help you get there.
Mentoring is certainly not a one-way street and the best mentors will know when it is time to stop talking and start listening. They will also recognise that handing over the reins and getting you to talk about yourself or your business is a key part of the development process.
You will be able to spot a great mentor by the way that they speak with the purpose of getting you to reach your own conclusions. They will listen with genuine interest and respect, gleaning insight from your responses.
A not-so-great mentor may have a habit of monologuing at you because they like the sound of their own voice or enjoy reeling off their own achievements.
It’s important to remember that someone who has had real success in their industry will not seek validation from mentees by shouting about their own accomplishments unnecessarily.
You could find a mentor who fits the criteria like a glove, but sadly, if they can’t accommodate your schedule or dedicate time to regular sessions, then they aren’t right for you.
Great mentoring is a process that both parties need to be equally committed to. And the very best mentors will understand that helping another person achieve real growth in their professional field often requires them to invest a fair amount of their time.
Be sure to discuss a timetable that works for you both before embarking on your mentoring journey.