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What Makes a Great Mentor?

Jun 27, 2019
by Georgiana Bellenger, HR Consultant
0333 400 7920 | georgiana@employassisthr.co.uk

Success is rarely a solo sport. Particularly in the early and formative years of your career, a mentor can help to shape your goals and skills to set you up for success. Some of today’s greatest and most innovative leaders have had the wisdom of great mentors to lean on and are now in turn imparting their experiences to others. Steve Jobs was mentored for many years by Bill Campbell but also now mentors others himself, counting Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg among his mentees.

What is a Mentor?
A mentor is defined as an experienced and trusted advisor. In the workplace, that can mean anyone from your line manager to an external influencer whom you trust to help you to develop. 

Mentoring is a two-way street. Great mentors are interested and invested in your personal and professional successes. If you find a good mentor – hold on tight to them! Remember to respect their experience and desire to help you. Every mentor/mentee relationship is unique, but ultimately there should be a mutual motivation for your success in the field. 

According to a recent article published by Forbes, a great mentor can be recognised by three common characteristics:

1. The Cheerleader
Always in your corner, your mentor should be encouraging you to always aim for the stars, repeatedly boosting your confidence until you are brave enough to take the risk. 
2. The Challenger
They will continually challenge you to question your comfort zone. Why are you not moving forward? The challenger keeps asking until the barriers simply no longer exist! As a mentee you are asking for continuous feedback. Learning how to give and receive that constructive criticism is fundamental to a successful mentoring relationship. A good mentor will understand how to challenge your conceptions and channel those into innovation and fresh ideas. 

3. The Coach
Experience is the friend we wish we all had when making tough decisions. Your mentor is there to help and to impart their wizened experience on to you, the future generation of decision makers. Listen to them!

Mentors do so much more than give advice and help you organise ideas. When the going gets tough, your mentor is your confidant. They are there to listen and dissect your problems, understand what’s frustrating you and help you think of solutions together. The secret to a great mentoring relationship is honesty, communication and mutual passion to connect.

If you would like advice on implementing a mentoring programme in your organisation please contact EmployAssistHR.