10 Key Qualities and Habits of a Highly Effective Mentor

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This is the introduction to our 10-part series covering the key qualities and habits of highly effective mentors.

To assist the tens of thousands of mentors and mentees that our customers of Mentorloop have, we’ve created a list of qualities and habits we’ve found, that make the most effective mentors according to research. After all, effective mentors and mentees make effective mentorship programs!

In this series, we’ll cover the following characteristics quality mentors possess:

  1. They care about the next generation’s success
  2. They’re self-aware and enthusiastic
  3. They set a good example as a positive role-model
  4. They’re intentional with their time
  5. They share experience, rather than advice
  6. They get uncomfortable
  7. They’re life-long learners
  8. They provide quality feedback
  9. They’re open and active listeners
  10. They extend their network

But before we dive into the series, we should lay down the most basic characteristic of all mentors: they’re human.

When we start working with someone full of wisdom and ready to guide us, we might forget that at the end of the day they’re just like us—human! They too have time commitments, weaknesses, and blind spots, so be kind and don’t expect your mentor to get you where you want to be all on their own—you will have to put in the work!

Bonus Quality #0: They’re human

Don’t be afraid to get personal: Build rapport and be friends!

First and foremost, getting to know a mentee or mentor beyond the business aspect of the relationship is a good way to generate trust, a vital part of any mentoring partnership. However, getting a fuller picture of a person’s world also strengthens that relationship.

What are your mentee’s passions apart from work? Their values? What are their most cherished relationships and who are they with? Understanding what drives your mentee and who will help support them throughout the mentoring partnership (apart from you) will help your time together be more meaningful and the work you do last longer and be more fulfilling.

Demonstrate compassion and be genuine

Just because you must maintain your objectivity and fairness doesn’t mean you can’t show your compassion. In fact, your mentoring relationship probably won’t work if you don’t show your interest and desire to provide one-on-one help and guidance.

You must also be selfless about sharing what you know. Keeping your goal in mind—to remain worthy of someone’s trust, model positive behaviour and successful performance, and offer guidance and advice toward reaching a specific goal—should be the compass that guides all your actions as a mentor.

Always keep the 3 R’s in mind: Responsible, Respectful, & Ready

People who are responsible, respectful, and ready to get started with new projects help make the day-to-day work experience a better one, not only for themselves but also for everyone around them.

By going into your mentoring partnership with these three R’s in mind, you’ll get the relationship with your mentee off on the right foot. Being Responsible for the work you’ll need to put in, Respectful of your partner’s time, and Ready to do what’s needed to make the partnership a success will keep everyone on the same page and moving forward together!

Let’s Get Started!

Unless they’re superhuman, it’s unlikely your mentor will inhabit all of the qualities of an effective mentor that we’ll cover in this upcoming series. But that simply reminds us to keep #0 on our list top of mind as we dive in: we’re all only human! We must accept both each other’s shortcomings and skills in order to really create an effective team.

Hopefully, you’ll find that your own weaknesses are buttressed by your mentor’s strengths, and vice versa.

If you’re ready to create a culture of intentional mentoring at your organisation, Mentorloop can help. We’ll get you started by building a custom mentoring program for your business, with guidance on how to get the most out of it, step-by-step.

Now’s the time to harness this incredible tool called mentoring and put it to work for your own organisation!

Start by sharing our 10 Key Qualities and Habits of a Highly Effective Mentor eBook with your HR team:

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Emily Ryan
Emily Ryan
Head of Marketing at Mentorloop. Observing tens of thousands of mentoring relationships, she is passionate about helping people get the most from their mentoring experience. When not writing, you'll find her brewing beer or globe-trotting.

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