7 Personal Qualities of a Good Mentor
Mentorships provide an ample amount of benefits to both the mentee and the mentor. In a corporate setting, older or more established business owners or managers take on a younger, inexperienced person with great potential to personally train and advise. This kind of professional relationship would most likely end up with the mentee gaining valuable skills and experience to realise their potential and probably become a successful business owner themselves. The mentor would also benefit by imparting their own wisdom and values and creating their own legacy. This is why it is strongly advocated for by business owners and entrepreneurs.
As with corporate mentorships, mentoring of young people can provide similar benefits. Young people who have a mentor are 55% more likely to enrol in college, 78% more likely to volunteer regularly, and 130% more likely to hold leadership positions. Adults who have a passion for helping young people, take the initiative to make sure that young people have access to advice, guidance and training, while also being able to make a difference and create a legacy.
Though the thought behind mentorship is good and altruistic, it must be noted that it takes certain skills and qualities to be a good mentor. This includes a special combination of knowledge, adaptability, experience and wisdom. Furthermore, young people are often vulnerable and impressionable, thus extra care needs to be taken to ensure that they are not misled by a negative mentorship.
So if you want to make sure that you have what it takes to be a good mentor, then here are seven personal qualities that you should definitely have:
- Dedication: You must be someone who can be fully dedicated. This includes committing yourself to make the necessary effort and being able to make enough time in your schedule. A mentorship does not have to be a huge commitment if you manage your time well. Together with being dedicated, you must make your dedication visibly evident. Young people will easily pick up an attitude that does not reflect the right level of commitment.
- Adaptability: You have to be adaptable and realise that you have to work around your mentee’s needs. This is not an internship where a younger person learns and gains experience through attending to the needs of their boss. A mentorship is first and foremost about the mentee’s needs. You should be flexible and easily provide help and guidance when needed.
- Openness: A good mentor is always approachable. Your attitude should not depend on how you are feeling on that day. Whenever you are with your mentee, you must be enthusiastic, patient and kind so that he/she feels welcome and comfortable. Being approachable also mean you have to create a feeling of openness so that they are comfortable with talking about any issue that is bothering him/her.
- Tolerance: You must be mature and tolerant enough to deal with a young person. Young people are not necessarily going to be in a good mood all the time. Thus, your respect for them should not depend on receiving their respect in return. You must be patient and be able to tolerate them at all times.
- Respect: With tolerance, a good mentor should also respect the dignity of the mentee. Even though your mentee is younger than you, you must still treat them well. Do not patronise them for being young or inexperienced. It is also imperative that you do not trivialise the issues that they are going through. It may seem simple or small to you, but always remember that they do not have your level of experience.
- Understanding: You must always be understanding and empathetic. To be understanding of your mentee, you should be someone who is a good listener. Listen attentively to everything that they say, and make mental or actual notes if need be. Do not overrule the conversation and always be the one who is talking. Although you want to impart your wisdom to your mentee, it would make sense to understand what they need before you provide solutions.
- Credibility: You should be credible and have actual experience and good wisdom to impart. After listening carefully to your mentee describe an issue or situation, you need to provide support, advice or direction. You can either work together with your mentee to come up with a solution or provide them with stories about how you dealt with a similar situation in your past. You can also just use your expertise or specific knowledge from your occupation to provide credible solutions. Do not be afraid of telling your mentee about your failures or previous setbacks – this makes you relatable. You must just be sure that there is a good outcome or positive ending that can make this a valuable lesson.
As you can see, being a mentor is not necessarily a walk in the park, and there are many things to consider before you choose to be a mentor. On the other hand, if you do have these seven qualities, you are likely to be a superb mentor. Thus, we urge you to consider becoming a mentor. Young people of today desperately need direction and guidance, and you would definitely make a positive impact, not to mention you would also be able to create a lasting legacy.
GT Scholars provides an excellent mentoring programme for scholars aged 11 to 16. The mentoring sessions involve working one-to-one with a mentee that is linked to your career or working in a small group of peers. You will have approximately 6 sessions in the year. The sessions are mostly focused on setting personal goals and coming up with suitable solutions or ways to achieving your goals. Get in contact with us for more information.