What Makes a Great Mentor?

atkins-bookshelf-educationEducator and motivational speaker William Arthur Ward once remarked on the qualities of a great teacher: “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” Building on Ward’s observation, one could argue that a great mentor excels in all four, motivated by paying forward the gift of wisdom and guidance that a mentor once provided for him or her in their own career. Like a parent, a mentor can have a profound influence on an individual; however in many cases, the mentor is a respected expert in a particular field and can offer career guidance and opportunities that a parent cannot. In a recent article for Inc., Jayson Demers, founder and CEO of AudienceBloom, discussed the seven qualities of a great mentor. Here is a summary:

1.  As an expert in their field, a mentor should be ready and willing to share what they know.
2. A mentor must make a serious commitment, in time and effort, to an individual. There should be a plan and preparation for mentoring sessions.
3. A mentor must be approachable, make him or herself available, and be willing to listen attentively and patiently.
4. When providing criticism, be honest — but be sensitive and diplomatic.
5. A great mentor is one who is not only teaching but actively learning, and keeping abreast of new developments in their field. The more a mentor learns, the more he or she can pass on.
6. A mentor-mentee relationship is different than a friendship; a mentor must remain objective and fair in providing guidance and career opportunities; there should not be a hidden agenda.
7. A great mentor should be a role model not just as an industry expert but also as a human being. Like a teacher or parent, a mentor must be genuine and compassionate.

Now that you know the essential qualities of a great mentor, honor the mentor in your life by making a pledge to mentor someone this year and change someone’s life for the better.

Read related posts: What Makes a Great Teacher?
Great Teachers Inspire
The Wisdom of a Grandmother
The Wisdom of Parents
What Should you Teach your Kids Before They Leave Home?

For further reading: www.inc.com/jayson-demers/7-key-qualities-of-an-effective-mentor.html

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