What qualities does a good mentor have?
It is important to choose wisely when selecting a mentor. This is someone you should look up to and aspire to be like. With that said, there are several qualities that all good mentors share.
Experience and success
At the most basic level, your mentor should have more experience than you and a track record of success.
“A great mentor is someone whose qualities make up a much better version of who you envision yourself to become,” said Argyropoulos. “On the other hand, some great mentors may help you to learn who not to be like – for example, a very successful businessman who is struggling in his personal life. Great mentors have a complementary skill set and bring different qualities to the table. Different perspectives are valuable in the mentor-mentee relationship.”
Authenticity, empathy, creativity and honesty
Doug White, a career expert and editor of career and management insights website TCG Blog, recommended seeking a mentor who has a strong character and traits worth emulating.
“Look for mentors who are authentic, empathetic, creative and honest,” said White. “You need someone who’s caring and invested in your professional growth, but also someone who will speak truth to you. Sometimes you need some constructive criticism or a reality check, while other times you need a high five or pat on the back. A well-chosen mentor can provide all of those things.”
Similar values to your own
A mentor in the same business area as you may better understand your business’s challenges and concerns, but Storey said that fruitful mentoring relationships don’t necessarily have to happen within the same industry. Leadership philosophy may be more important.
“Make sure that the mentor shares a similar value system in leadership and management,” Storey said. “Knowing who you are as a leader is critical before entering into a mentoring relationship. Only then can you align yourself with the right guide.”
Key takeaway: Good mentors are experienced, successful, authentic, creative, empathetic and honest. The best mentors share similar values with their mentees.