Mentor: Someone who teaches or gives help and advice to a less experienced person.
For the first 15 years of my career I have been very fortunate. I have had some really excellent mentors that have guided me to levels of success I never would have achieved on my own. Not only did my mentors guide me to success, but they also taught me how to be a mentor. They taught me the value of mentoring.
Without a good mentor people find themselves running in place. You are making decisions and going down roads blind. No amount of hard work will compensate for going the wrong direction. In most cases you wont even know it was the wrong direction until you reach the end. You need that person to hold up the U-turn sign.
So what makes up a good mentor? Many people feel that being a mentor requires special skills, but mentors are simply people who have the qualities of good role models.
1) Mentors Listen: They maintain eye contact and give mentees their full attention.
2) Mentors Guide: Mentors are there to help their mentees find life direction, never to push them.
3) Mentors Are Practical: They give insights about keeping on task and setting goals and priorities.
4) Mentors Educate: Mentors educate about life and their own careers.
5) Mentors Provide Insight: Mentors use their personal experience to help their mentees avoid mistakes and learn from good decisions.
6) Mentors Are Accessible: Mentors are available as a resource and a sounding board.
7) Mentors Criticize Constructively: When necessary, mentors point out areas that need improvement, always focusing on the mentee’s behavior, never his/her character.
8) Mentors Are Specific: Mentors give specific advice on what was done well or could be corrected, what was achieved and the benefits of various actions.
9) Mentors Succeed: Mentors not only are successful themselves, they also foster success in others.
10) Mentors Care: Mentors care about their mentee’s progress in school and career planning, as well as their personal development.
About the Author: Steven Fey is a results-driven professional in the networking services industry. An Army veteran, he blogs about information technology and career development on The Operation Mind.