When you want to grow your career, have someone to help guide you and make your path easier. But not everyone knows how and where to find the right person or even what to look for. But in every industry or workplace, you can find an individual suitable to be your mentor because they have already navigated the path ahead of you. It is a no-brainer that a good mentor can be great for your career, but they can also be instrumental in shaping your life as well. You may not know who they are or how to connect with them, but they do exist.
What is a Mentor?
A mentor is someone with more skills, experience, knowledge, or wisdom in a particular field who is willing to advise, guide, coach, and support a mentee who is a less experienced person and often younger to help them succeed in their professional career.
In other words, a mentor is someone who guides and advises an individual or group of people in the right direction to get the most out of specific situations. Mentorship varies from person to person, just like relationships.
But one thing that all good mentors have in common is their commitment to helping others by bestowing knowledge and wisdom upon them.
It is important to note that mentoring is a reciprocal relationship. Mentoring is not about benefitting one or the other party, but both parties involved. It is not about only one person is teaching and another learning.
It is a relationship of mutual benefit. Both the mentor and mentee share something, which means they help each other grow.
Good Examples of Mentoring
Not all mentors are good. Not every mentor is going to be right for you. While some people may find mentors in the most unexpected places, some characteristics make individuals better mentors than others.
If you have been wondering how to get a good mentor—or if you want more insight on what it means to be a good mentor yourself—here are 16 examples of a good mentor:
1. A Good Mentor is Someone You Can Trust
You cannot force trust on anyone. It must grow naturally in the relationship. It grows out of a deep and mutual appreciation for one another.
Examples of a good mentor include someone you can trust to offer guidance on any aspect of your career—from work challenges to personal issues—because they treat all information with discretion. It’s their way of demonstrating that your relationship is one of trust and respect.
2. A Good Mentor Is Selfless
A good mentor does not expect anything in return and will share their wisdom and knowledge to help you, even if it is not reciprocated. They want you to succeed just as much as they want to see them succeed.
They understand that real success for everyone means having a team to rely on and not becoming dependent on just one person.
Read also: 23 Characteristics of a Good Boss
3. Not Judgmental
A good mentor does not judge people based on their background. Instead, a good mentor sees the good in you and provides useful advice to help you grow and learn.
They know that everyone has an equal chance of succeeding once they give you the opportunity.And they believe that you can do great things, no matter what circumstances you come from or how difficult your past experiences may be.
4. Is Direct but Honest
A blunt mentor tells you when you are wrong but does it in a kind and tactful way. A good mentor does not sugarcoat your mistakes, but they deliver criticism in an empathetic way.
If you are not getting honest feedback from your mentor, then they are not doing their job right—and neither are you. Honesty is critical when it comes to your relationship with your mentor.
A good mentor will not hesitate to tell you when something is not working or when there is a better way of doing it—even if that means criticizing or pointing out your flaws.
5. Has High Expectations
A mentor has high expectations for you to succeed, not only at the end goal but by pushing you to work harder along the way until you get there. They have a positive vision of you and your future while being realistic about who you are and what you are capable of achieving.
Their expectations become a yardstick, which you use to measure your successes and failures. So, you have no choice but to exceed their expectations or live down to them.
6. A Good Mentor is Equally Vulnerable
Mentorship is not about one person guiding others and learning. It is a relationship of mutual benefit.
Both the mentor and mentee bring something important to the table, which means you help each other grow. The best mentors are also mentees of someone else.
7. Also Learns You
You may be inferior to your mentor in some ways — maybe you are just starting, and they have been doing the job for years, or they work for a more prestigious company.
But that does not mean you do not have valuable skills or knowledge to offer them. A good mentor sees the potential in you and is willing to learn from you, too.
They are always open to new ideas and strategies that may be beneficial for them — because they know that working together will benefit both of you in the future.
Read more: 19 Examples of Smart Goals for Managers
8. Is Grateful for Your Feedback
A good mentor wants to know what you think about them, their work ethic, how they interact with you and others, and what you think they need to improve upon.
A mentor who completely disregards your thoughts is bad as they feel better than you and see your opinions as trivial.
9. Grateful for Your Successes
Examples of a good mentor include having someone who will do just as much to celebrate your wins as they will commiserate with you during your struggles. They understand that success is not a smooth path and know that faults are what make you stronger.
10. A Good Mentor is Always Available
A good mentor is your biggest cheerleader but also gives you space when needed. They support you throughout every aspect of your work, career, or struggles but know to back away when necessary.
Good mentors want you to succeed but also do not want you to become dependent on them too much. They push you to achieve your goals and give you the space to revel in your victories along the way.
11. Provides an Equal Exchange
Just like any friendship or relationship you may have, there has to be some level of giving and take when it comes to your mentor-mentee relationship.
You cannot expect anyone to help you out if you are not willing to return the favor. A relationship should be a two-way street otherwise, things start feeling lopsided and one-sided.
12. Respects Your Boundaries
A good mentor will respect your boundaries and only give advice when you ask for it. They realize that everyone is different and that they need to work with you on your terms. They do not force their opinions onto you.
13. Will Introduce You to Others
A good mentor usually has many contacts throughout their career and knows lots of people. They will be more than happy to introduce you to some of their connections so that you can build your network.
By helping you meet new people, they are helping you expand your professional relationships without worrying about who you are meeting or the impression you make.
14. Provides Help as Your Career Progresses
Good mentors are happy to answer questions, give feedback, and offer support. They understand the value of your relationship and want to be there for you as much as possible.
Once they know you better, they will offer opportunities that may be valuable to you, such as sending a few influential people your way for networking purposes or even putting in a good word to make you seem to look better.
Also read: 21 Good Examples of Accountability
15. Offers Wisdom and Not Just Advice
A good mentor provides more than just advice. They also guide you through tough situations by pointing out pitfalls you may not see on your own. And advise on how best to navigate through challenges successfully.
They take the time to understand what you are getting into and why it can be problematic for your career.
16. Acts More Like a Peer
A good mentor acts more like a peer than a boss. They want to know you as a person and treat you with the respect that you deserve, even outside of work, and offer you their honest opinion when you ask for it.
You still report to them, but they have your best interest at heart and want you to succeed.
Everyone needs a mentor just like you want a friend who can guide you through the twists and turns of your work life.
The right mentor can make all the difference in helping you reach your personal and professional goals. But finding the right mentor is like looking for a perfect home, especially if you do not know where to look or what qualities to prioritize.
Find someone who fits your personality and goals. And if you feel like you are not getting what you need from one person, do not be afraid to end the relationship and build a new one.
Everyone has different strengths, so you must find someone who meshes with your style and can fill in any gaps.