What are the qualities of a great Mentor?
Mentorship is becoming an essential element of dynamic innovative business. It helps develop talent and with Knowledge Management – sharing intrinsic knowledge.
1. Demonstrate integrity
Great mentors have credibility and live their own advice, they walk their talk. It doesn’t mean they have all the answers, but it does mean they act as a positive role model. Good mentors earn respect from their proteges. A protege can learn a lot from a mentor with integrity by simply watching how they act in any particular situation.
2. Show genuine interest in your protege as a person
The mentoring relationship is a very personal one. In order for the relationship to develop, the development of trust is essential. As a mentor we need to get to know our protege personally, as an individual. We need to discover their hopes and dreams, so we can help them develop in line with those dreams. A manager is often not the best person to mentor someone on their team, as they may have a conflict of interests (what is in the best interest of the protege and in the best interest of the business).
3. Share your experiences and insights
Great mentors share stories and experiences from which proteges can learn new things. Consider sharing your mistakes and failures too, as these events often contain our biggest lessons. These stories will also help your protege become aware that challenges will arise, how you dealt with them and how they impacted your growth. The protege may also gain insight about how to build resilience.
4. Ask open questions to encourage reflection
Asking open questions will help you to identify the protege’s real passions, needs and values. Open questions are also a great way to get your protege to think reflect on challenges and draw out the results of the various choices or courses of action they can take. Don’t make decisions for your protege, that is their responsibility. Your job is to share your wisdom and understanding, and draw out their understanding.
5. Listen be an objective sounding board
Proteges can benefit substantially from having their mentor listen to them. This allows them to explore their thoughts and ideas in a safe manner. This will often help them unravel their thinking and gain insights about a situation as they share their concerns with you. Ask them questions to draw out the consequences of various potential actions. It should be about empowering your protege, before advising them what to do. This process of listening and asking questions helps them work through a challenge and come to their own conclusions. This helps them learn to think through issues themselves
6. Offer positive feedback
Not all feedback is made equal. Part of becoming a great mentor is understanding this. Mentors need to learn to offer specific positive feedback in a way that will help their protege gain insight as to what they already do well, and which areas may lead to the development of specific qualities or skills. Always ask for permission to give feedback before doing so. Unwelcome feedback can be damaging to a mentoring relationship.
7. Offer advice, only when asked
It can be tempting to offer unsolicited advice before your protege has actually asked for it, specially when you’ve dealt with a similar challenge yourself. A benefit of working with a mentor is that a great mentor can provide their protege with a fresh perspective on an issue, giving clarity on a challenge. Your job is not to tell them what to do, but help them develop the mindset and thought processes that enable them to develop.
8. Celebrate and acknowledge achievements
Acknowledge each achievement, this embeds good practice and helps build their confidence. Celebrate each successes along your mentoring journey.
These are the qualities of a great Mentor
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