What to look for in a mentor
“A mentor is not one who gives you advice. A mentor is someone who’s advice you follow.” Aeneas Williams
Selecting a mentor is an important task. One should choose a mentor very wisely as this person will impact your future. The person you surround yourself with will be someone that will impart to you from their wisdom and experiences essential tools to help you navigate life more successfully.
Listed below are several important qualities in a mentor you should look for as you establish your relationship:
Choose someone who remembers that they didn’t start where they are now and that they honor their journey. Their accomplishments are communicated with humility as the result of a process and experiences that they are willing to share. Being mindful of the people who helped them achieve success and the many lessons learned is a hallmark of humility. Hearing a second hand story of someone’s success is not as valuable as someone sharing from their heart about their process and what they learned about themselves on their journey.
In a healthy mentor relationship, you should have the ability to share truth about what’s going on with you – and you should be assured that what you share won’t be communicated to others. The depth of your relationship will be based on the depth of open and honest communication that you can have together. If trust is broken due to either party disclosing information, it could be the end of the mentorship.
If you’re taking the time to seek advise or counsel, your mentor should be able to give you straight answers. It is also important to give them permission to say what they need to say, and not necessarily what you want to hear. Your capacity to process criticism will dictate how much wisdom your mentor will be able to share with you.
This one may appear to be obvious, but it is important that both parties are interested in establishing this relationship with a specific goal or outcome in mind. The mentor should be interested in your identity, how you’re wired, what’s critical to you, what you’ve done so far, and how it’s working for you. Genuine concern for your growth is essential. This does not mean that they are always readily available to you. But it does mean that when they are available, the time is priceless.
This is fundamental. A great mentor not only wants you to succeed, they need you to succeed. In this process, they will make connections or offer assets that are valuable for your development. A great mentor will never be jealous or feel undermined by your growth and success. He/she will salute you on your triumphs as well as help you recoup from your mishaps. Most critical, a self-less mentor has faith in your potential and imparts that to you openly without any expectation of personal gain.