I’ve received some absolutely great mentoring over the years. Here are a few of the things that I’ve noticed my favorite mentors do. (I reserve the right to update this as I notice more about what seems to work – or as you teach me what has worked with you.)
- Listen. Great mentors know how to focus on the mentee. Great mentors are fully present. Great mentors are fully focused. (This takes maturity.)
- Determine what the mentee is interested in, or struggling with. What’s really going on?
- Point to potential resources (books, people, methods, etc.). As is relevant, great mentors will point towards their mentors and what advice they may have given.
- Listen some more.
- Ask good questions. Sometimes for reflection, sometimes to challenge. Mentors know the questions that change perspective and lead to “ah ha” moments – if not immediately, then later as the question lingers.
- Be there. Great mentors are available – even when it’s inconvenient to them.
Pretty simple list, right? Not as simple to execute. But if you try, you might just change a life.
As a side note: Rarely is a great mentor simply telling me how to do it right. They are making me think and do the work towards finding my solution or growing in some capacity.