This is a question I get asked frequently and there isn't one set answer. It's difficult to predict which personality will mesh with another but with some thought put into a matching process, one can get great results. I do think there are qualities that are critical for someone to be a good mentor:
- A good listener. By that I mean someone who not only can listen without distraction to what a mentoree is saying but is also somewhat intuitive with that person-able to sense subtle messages of body language, tone of voice, etc.
- Mentor is self - less. A good mentor fully understands that the relationship is not about sharing who s/he is but rather, to facilitate the development of the mentoree. For this reason, a good mentor does less talking and more listening in the relationship on the whole. Also, the mentor doesn't take things personally and focuses on the needs of the mentoree as their priority.
- Loses control. Often mentors are in positions where they make decisions on a regular basis and take control of situations. In mentoring, mentors need to let go of control. The person in charge of the relationship is really the mentoree. The mentor's role is to partner with that mentoree but not to manage.
- Envisions. There is nothing so powerful as having someone believe in you. Mentors, by virtue of the personal relationship they create with the mentoree, are in a unique position to assist the mentoree to envision their future with all of their talents. We often fail to see how talented we are and having someone point that out on a periodic basis, opens up possibilities for the mentoree that can lead to a more fulfilling career and life.
The above are just some of the qualities that make someone a good mentor! Do you have any to add to the list?