"A mentor oversees the career and development of another person (mentoree)...through teaching, counseling, providing psychological support, protecting and, at times, promoting or sponsoring.”—Michael Zey
Choosing mentors who possess the following attributes will provide a greater level of success overall in the mentoring relationship and; therefore, is vital to the success of a corporate mentoring program.
Supportive: Encourages the mentoree to take risks that are reasonable under the circumstances and that will result in the mentoree's professional and personal development.
Nurturing: Creates a "risk free" environment whereby the mentoree can share with the mentor the issues that are most critical to him/her knowing that it will only be utilized to aid in the mentoree's development.
Protective: Makes certain that the mentoree has all the information needed to make informed decisions and provides the mentoree with critical knowledge and understanding of situations so that the mentoree gets the "complete picture" prior to taking any action.
Honest in Feedback: Provides necessary feedback, which allows the mentoree to know what s/he is doing well and what areas can be further developed for success.
Understands Boundaries: Is able to set limits with the mentoree and also understand that the mentor's job is not to create a clone of the mentor but to share knowledge and information that can be useful to the mentoree as s/he develops in his/her own unique way.
Balanced Perspective: Brings a realistic viewpoint in discussions with the mentoree, looking at issues from the company's perspective as well as the mentoree's and is also aware of his/her own blind spots.
Are you a mentor? Do you believe you offer these qualities to your mentoree? If you are not sure, ask your mentoree! It is a great way to start a discussion about how successful you both believe the mentoring relationship is/has been and where you could take it in the future.