If you are seeking a mentor in the workplace or one from your professional network, it is important that you first understand what makes a mentor effective. A mentor is supposed to provide you with a variety of opportunities for you to learn from his or her experience and gain invaluable insight that you otherwise wouldn’t have been able to obtain.
The mentoring relationship should be an honest sharing of ideas, suggestions and answers to questions, in a positively constructive learning environment. This article will discuss the top 10 qualities of an effective mentor. As a mentee, it is important that you take the time to review whether or not your mentor is exhibiting these effective qualities.
1. Seriously Invested
One of the most important qualities of an effective mentor is that this individual is seriously invested in the mentoring relationship. Successful mentoring is not based on half an effort. For both the mentor and mentee to get any significant return from the relationship, both parties need to be seriously invested; especially the mentor. Of course, the mentee must demonstrate commitment. However, if the mentor is not fully committed to the working educational relationship, the mentee will sense the mediocre attitude and could become less motivated to learn during the process.
2. Genuine Attitude
Another quality in the top ten list is that an effective mentor should have a genuine attitude toward the mentoring process. It is important that the mentor is genuine so that each action and behavior that the mentee will model is something that should be imitated. Having a genuine attitude also makes the process very easy to cultivate and maintain a positive attitude. When the mentor has a positive attitude for mentoring, then the mentee will feel as if he or she is valuable to the process.
3. Knowledge Dissemination
If the mentor is not proficient at disseminating helpful knowledge to the mentee, the process is not effective. A mentor must know the best way that the mentee can actually receive information so that learning and personal growth occurs. The basic purpose of a mentorship is for the mentor to teach the mentee and for learning and development to be successful. Effective mentors are able to judge each specific mentorship situation and devise the best plan for mentoring.
4. Expanding Perspective
In order to be an effective mentor, this individual needs to have an expanding perspective. If the mentor hopes to teach the mentee, it is important that this person has an open-minded perspective that is continually seeking to learn new things. For example, if the mentor doesn’t want to keep learning in his or her specific field, the mentee will not receive the most effective mentorship training.
5. Excited Behavior
Of course, this quality should be exhibited in balance. However, it is vital that the mentor has an earnest excitement for his or her specific field. For example, if you are learning from an entrepreneurial mentor and this individual is not even excited about starting an entrepreneurial venture—you might want to find another mentor. An effective mentor is truly engrossed in his or her specific field and is excited to share a wealth of knowledge.
6. Duplication Ability
For a mentor to be effective, duplication ability is another important quality to have. For example, the mentor must be able to work with a mentee and enable this individual to grasp all the training and duplicate the behavior. If the mentee is not able to eventually duplicate the behavior of the mentor, the learning process was not effective.
7. Accountability Factor
A mentor, who is effective, also knows how to be accountable for all his or her actions. Additionally, when goals are set, they must be accomplished, or at least every effort made to complete them. A mentee is always watching the mentor and if this teacher is not accountable, that indirectly teaches the student not to be accountable for his or her actions, decisions and goals.
8. Open-Minded Behavior
An effective mentor knows how to operate under the influence of open-minded behavior. This type of mentor sees the value in learning from others and knowing how to admit when there is a better way. Mentors, who are successful, are not afraid to take the advice of their mentee if a good idea is shared. Remember, that an effective mentorship relationship involves a give and take of ideas.
9. Constructive Guidance
A mentee will not become successful unless he or she is taught by a mentor who offers constructive guidance and recommendations. Criticism can, and should, be given. However, it always must be constructive and done with a positive end goal in mind. For example, the goal is never to knock down the mentee. Rather, it is important to sandwich any criticism with a positive praise first, and then the constructive criticism—and then with another encouragement.
10. Successful Example
The final quality in the top ten list is that the mentor needs to lead by a successful example. If the mentee hopes to learn anything of value, the mentor must actually be successful in his or her life. A successful example basically shows the mentee that with hard word, it is possible to achieve goals and succeed in his or her specific field.
What do you think is the most important quality of an effective mentor?