What Makes a Good Mentor

This morning a friend and I were having a conversation about what makes a good mentor. He told me he was helping his son with a homework assignment and wanted my input on what makes a good mentor.

For me, a good mentor:

1.   Guides the person to make decisions that are right for him and his circumstances.  The mentor does not make it about what he would do but instead focuses on what is best for the other person.

2.  Lets his student see he has flaws or shortcomings.  So many times people want to show the "perfect" side of them and hide the "flaws".  The down side is the person you are mentoring may feel she can never live up to your expectations.  She can never be you because you are "perfect".  Allow her to see you have flaws and shortcomings.  This can be an opportunity for her to teach you and help build her confidence in herself.

3.  Lets go of his ego.  A good mentor knows it is not about him.  The accomplishments or mistakes are not about the mentor but the student.  By letting go of the ego, the mentor is able to guide from wisdom not emotion.

4.  Uplifts and encourages.  Words matter.  Actions matter.  The mentor knows the words he chooses need to be encouraging and positive.  Even in the darkest of times there is always light.  Be the light.

5.  Knows when to step back and let go. A good mentor knows when the student is ready to fly on his own.  She does not stay longer than needed.  She does not become a crutch.  She knows when her job is done.

6.  Doesn't take credit for other's accomplishments.  When it's all said and done and the student has attained his goal, he will say I did it.  This is as it should be.  To quote Lao Tzu, "A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves."

These are some qualities I think make a good mentor.  What do you think makes a good mentor?

Published by Kimberly Cannady

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