Great mentors are motivated and have exceptional mentoring relationships.
Anyone can be a mentor and yet there are specific qualities that make mentors exceptional:
Reliability – A great mentor is trustworthy, consistent, and dependable. The mentee should be able to count on the mentor to show up when agreed, be prepared for the session, and have the mentee’s best interest in mind.
Persistence – A great mentor is persistent. In most cases the mentor must be willing to commit to mentoring for a length of time in order to support the mentee in achieving results. Especially when working with young people, a successful mentor does not give up easily but instead keeps persistent focus on what the mentee wants to achieve.
Respect – A great mentor respects their mentee. They see their mentee’s positive attributes and achievements. They honour their mentee’s beliefs, opinions, background and choices. In order for a mentoring relationship to have a real lasting impact it must be based on mutual respect.
Good Humour – A great mentor has a good sense of humour. We can often be too hard on ourselves and forget to take ourselves lightly. It is the role of mentor to be flexible, know when to be silly, and when to be serious. At times, the mentee may find it hard to see the humour in their life. Like any other tool, humour, when used appropriately, can help shift the mentee’s perspective and energy during the session, from stuck to unstuck.
Patience – A great mentor understands that each mentee lives their life according to their individual timeline. It is important to have patience, knowing when to push your mentee and when to give them space and time.
Intuitive - A great mentor knows how to harness his or her intuition for the benefit of the mentee. A mentor needs to be wary of relying on conscious reasoning all the time. Intuition is an incredibly powerful tool, more powerful than logic. When allowed to flow freely, intuition will tell you when your mentee is not being honest, or when your mentee is feeling scared. The ability to intuit things comes with practice. If the intuition is accurate it will make an impact. If the intuition is not accurate the mentee will let you know. Remember it is all about trial and error.
Curiosity – A great mentor is curious about ALL aspects of the mentee’s life. Using curiosity, intuition, and powerful questions, a mentor does not make assumptions, but instead gains an honest understanding of who the mentee is and what the mentee wants. Curiosity will help you and your mentee get to the core of an issue and shine light on aspects that the mentee is hiding from him/herself.
Honesty - A great mentor is honest about who they are, what they are capable of, as well as what they notice in their mentee. Being truthful is incredibly important because it supports a relationship based on trust. Nonetheless, truthfulness should never be used in a malicious, intentionally hurtful manner
Self-regulation – A great mentor knows how to regulate his or her own emotions in a session. As a mentor, your state of mind and body has an impact on the mentoring relationship. Make sure to leave your personal and professional issues outside the mentoring session. How will you know when you are not self-regulating? You may start to daydream, talk to yourself, get angry, and/or apathetic.
Commitment - A great mentor is committed to their mentee. Your role as a mentor is very important. Make sure you are clear about the time and energy commitment the mentoring requires, before you agree to the relationship.