Mentoring has changed over the past few years. Historically, the relationship was based on what the mentor could give to the protégé, but it is understood now, that the relationship is most effective when it is reciprocal. As business owners we may seek out someone to serve as our mentor who is also an entrepreneur in our sector, or we may consider the outside perspective of someone in another sector. In either situation, there are certain attributes you should consider when making your choice.
Here are the top 10 qualities which are essential in an effective mentor:
1. A Desire to Help
Individuals who are interested in and willing to help others. They have a willingness to share their skills, knowledge and expertise. They are also respected by colleagues and employees in all levels of the organization.
2. Have Had Positive Experiences
Individuals who have had positive formal or informal experiences with a mentor tend to be good mentors themselves.
3. Good Reputation for Developing Others
Experienced people who have a good reputation for helping others develop their skills and will take a personal interest in the mentoring relationship.
4. Time & Energy
People who have the time and mental energy to devote to the relationship.
5. Up-To-Date Knowledge
Individuals who have maintained current, up-to-date technological knowledge and/or skills. They set and meet ongoing personal and professional goals.
6. Learning Attitude
Individuals who demonstrate a positive attitude and are still willing and able to learn. They should also be someone who sees the potential benefits of a mentoring relationship.
7. Demonstrative Effective Managing/Mentoring Skills
Individuals who have demonstrated effective coaching, counseling, facilitating and networking skills. This includes the ability to provide guidance and constructive feedback.
8. Willing to Listen
Individuals who serve as listening and sound boards for the protégé’s ideas, dreams, needs, & concerns. Being an entrepreneur can be very lonely and often the mentor serves as a listening ear.
9. Able to Protect Confidence
Individuals need to be able to establish & maintain the mutual respect & trust needed for the risk-taking necessary for learning & professional growth.
10. Enjoys Celebrating
Individuals who willingly recognize accomplishments, affirming growth, & building professional self confidence.
Not everyone can be an effective mentor. There must be a willingness, enthusiasm, and commitment by both parties for the relationship to be effective. However, when you have the benefit of a passionate mentor, you will find the results showing up in your bottom line.