A quick answer to that question, is someone who solves your problems or provides advice. A better perspective to answer this is to consider the long-term effect of mentoring. A mentor is one who successfully develops a mentee (the person she or he is mentoring). The interactions may be frequent or few and far between, but mentoring is a lasting relationship.
Oprah Winfrey explained, “I mentor when I see something and say, ‘I want to see that grow’”
It is a mutual relationship that leaves no doubt in either’s mind. In most cases if you find yourself asking the question, “Are you, my mentor?”, then the answer is probably no.
It is not surprising that the benefits of mentoring are mutual because it comes from a positive aspect of human quality.
|Benefits to the mentee||Benefits to the mentor|
|Develops a supportive relationship||Improve inter-personal skills|
|Helps in problem solving||Growth through new perspectives|
|Encouraged to question and learn||Validation of practices|
|Build self-confidence||Job satisfaction|
What are the qualities of a good mentor?
Subject matter expert – A mentor has in-depth knowledge and experience in the area that the mentee is developing in.
Mentee is encouraged to lead – A mentor promotes the mentee to lead and pace his /her own development.
Long term focus – The purpose of the mentorship relation is growth and development. This allows for short term mistakes and setbacks.
Challenge and re-evaluation – Mentor may appropriately set challenge goals for the mentee. He/she will periodically re-evaluate previously set targets/ goals for relevance and capability.
Patience – A good mentor allows mentees to develop at their own pace.
Integrity – Trust is a key component to a successful mentoring relationship.
Discipline – Mentor emphasizes the importance of discipline in developing successful life-long habits.
Foresight – Due their prior experience a mentor may be able to provide guidance to a mentee in similar situations.
Openness to learn – A good mentor should be willing to learn from the mentee also.
Value Foundation – Mentors provide guidance to grow and develop the mentee’s own values. Generally, mentorship relations are not meant to achieve a specific goal.