A good mentoring relationship is an outstanding tool to help new employees and young professionals in the field to make sense of many of the hurdles and challenges they will face in an always-changing business world. Are newcomers the only ones that can be benefited by a mentorship? Absolutely not, mentoring is something that can help anyone at any level of the organization who feels like they could benefit from the advice and guidance of someone who is more experienced and whose opinion they value and find particularly helpful in their career advancement. Here in Suzzanne Uhland’s, we have previously talked about the most important aspects to consider when choosing a mentor, so today we want to focus on the mentor’s side and discuss what we consider are the best qualities a mentor should have in order to be the most qualified person for the job and truly make an impact on the life of those he takes under his wing. These are some of the most important qualities a mentor should have, listed in no particular order.
Willingness to share
A mentor is someone who is already considered an expert in his field or area of expertise, but this expertise and professional accomplishments are not useful unless there is a willingness and ability to share them with mentees. A good mentor is aware and understands what it’s like to start out in the field and that is why they are the most qualified person to serve a guide to those who seek their professional and personal advancement. Mentors are not selfish and they do not hold back information as they share everything they deem relevant to help their mentees get ahead.
A mentor takes their role seriously and understands the serious commitment they must have to their mentees and their process. Preparing for each session is just one aspect of their readiness, as they must be prepared to answer all questions and find strategies to tackle possible challenges alongside their protégés. A great mentor is respectful of their responsibility and knows that they must be ready to guide the sessions and not let them become a simple process of answering questions and giving feedback. The mentor must be prepared in such way that they can answer questions about topics the mentee may be interested in pursuing or have questions about.
A real interest in the mentoring relationship
Like we mentioned before, a great mentor does not take their responsibility lightly and that is why they are absolutely invested in the success of their mentee. A great mentor understands their effect in the relationship with their mentee and are interested in making the best possible impact they can accomplish. They understand that success is shared between both parties and they make everything within their ability to provide their mentee with an empowering mentoring relationship while at the same time continuing their own personal growth and becoming even more knowledgeable within their own field.
Effective communication skills
One of the most important things a mentor can do is always provide guidance and nurturing feedback. Effective communication skills mean being able to get your message across while at the same time being honest with your mentee. This area is one of the most valued in a mentoring relationship, as it is important to receive feedback in order to be able to identify your own strengths and weaknesses, and thus creating a plan to follow to address those shortcomings.
Curiosity and eagerness to learn
A great mentor understands the need to continue learning and to stay away from stagnation. A person who is at a place in their career where they can no longer grow and do not have any higher aspirations will not make a good mentor because they lack the understanding for continuous improvement of their personal and professional persona. Another thing to keep in mind is the fact that a good mentor must stay in touch with what goes on in the industry and stay on top of new changes and the way such industry transforms with time. All of this knowledge is highly important and must be always be present within the mentor’s way of approaching the mentoring relationship.
Respected by others in the organization
Mentees look up to mentors for being the one filling the roles they want to occupy later within the organization. A person with a great reputation and that is respected by peers and subordinates alike is someone whose opinion will matter to a mentee. Someone whose work is valued within the company is a great example for mentees to follow because this person can have a great insight into what it takes to be successful in such way that the people around you admire you. One of the things we have mentioned time and again is the importance of setting a great example for those you lead, and there are few things that can testify for a great example to follow than those who have earned the respect of those around them.