As a mentorship platform, many mentees at MentorCruise ask themselves this question when browsing through the many different mentors with specific expertise.
Every mentoring relationship is different. But mentees have provided positive testimonials of their mentoring sessions, and we’ve realized that there are some qualities that they appreciate.
Who Is a Mentor?
A mentor provides you with the tools, support, and guidance you need to succeed in your career. Some people seek out a mentor when they’re stuck and struggle to come to a decision or develop a solution.
Most times, a mentor is someone who has been on the same road you are and, therefore, provides you with advice on what they did and what worked for them. Anyone can be your career mentor – a family member, a friend, a current boss, a co-worker, or someone you met at a networking event.
You can also seek mentorship from a professional in your field. A mentor plays a consistent role in your life for quite a while, so you need to choose wisely. They also provide insight and valuable experience.
Having a mentor is also an excellent way to build your professional network. Your mentor should be in your industry and therefore know people who can help you. In addition, your mentor can advise you on the right people to network with.
But First, Why Is It Important to Look for Good Mentor Qualities?
All right, at MentorCruise, you get a 7-day free trial with every mentor that you start with. This mitigates some of the risks involved in getting a bad fit.
At the same time, we highly encourage that you set some criteria on the qualities of a good mentor. Why?
- You’re not wasting your time or the mentor’s. This is a no-brainer. If this mentoring relationship is successful because you’ve done your research, you won’t have to spend time looking for other mentors.
- Effective guidance. When you’re a good fit, the mentor can give advice that can genuinely help you. For example, some mentors might be effective talkers, but it may not be helpful if their advice comes from the wrong place.
- Develop a meaningful mentoring relationship. A good mentor provides emotional support and encouragement when you’re in a rut. After all, mentoring isn’t all about experience and expertise. It’s also about empathy and understanding of where the mentee is coming from.
Ten Qualities of a Good Mentor
1. Has Relevant Experience and Expertise
“Arvid is a fantastic mentor knowledgeable across the entire startup lifespan. He really takes the time to understand your product and offer help and ideas where he can — all with great enthusiasm. Recommended!”
- Steve, about Arvid Kahl
Arvid had the valuable knowledge that Steve wanted about startups and products. Arvid knew about the startup ecosystem from the inside out. Arvid has bootstrapped and successfully sold FeedBackPanda. He’s also written a book about his experience in running this online business. As a result, they had a fruitful mentoring exchange.
This shows the importance of the first point: the mentor knows what they’re talking about. This is a no-brainer, but your mentor needs to have the relevant wisdom and the lived experience to give meaningful advice.
After all, the mentor you might want might have some seniority, but if it’s not the right type of experience, neither of you will benefit from this mentorship. Furthermore, senior marketers most probably won’t be able to provide personalized career guidance to developers, no matter how good they are.
2. Has Palpable Enthusiasm for the Subject Matter and Their Role
“This is the best decision I made in 2020. Having Raounak as a mentor jump-started my learning. He picked me up when I am on the verge of giving up, by breaking things down into small chunks and giving real-life examples to solidify my understanding. He is a good mentor but a better person. If you are looking for a rails mentor, you can’t go wrong with him.”
- Myth, about Raounak Sharma
Having a mentor who has a passion for their craft and what they do inspires their mentees to stay optimistic in their pursuit of achieving their goals. Many mentees have attested how mentors have helped them stay on course with their mission through keen guidance.
For the mentee, this enthusiasm can even be life-changing. Myth was about to give up on his goals until he met Raounak. Roaounak then went through Myth’s problems and began to solidify his understanding of Rails, an application framework.
3. Must Fit With You and Your Goals
“I can definitely say that Diana is the type of mentor you want to keep for long-term if you are looking for someone to guide you through the coding world because coding can be a long and lonely process. She immediately identified my goals in conjunction with strategizing a learning path so that I could aim to accomplish my mission. She’s a keeper!”
- Jerrica, about Diana Lee
For instance, Diana Lee not only listened to Jerrica but also gave her pointers on how to achieve her professional goals and suggested a learning path for her! This is an example of a great mentoring relationship in which the mentor goes above and beyond to help their mentee. As a result, Jerrica felt less isolated in her coding journey because Diana Lee understood where she was coming from.
Your mentor might have all the right talents and expertise, and their peers can super respect them. They can even have been featured in reputable publications. These are all well and great, but do you think they’re the right fit for you and your goals?
This is more of a gut feeling that you get with the mentor, and it’s something that you can only understand down the line. But your mentor needs to have a vague understanding of your challenges and where you’re coming from to help you.
When it is the perfect fit, it makes a whole difference. At MentorCruise, many people have stated how their mentoring relationship has changed their lives for the better because of a great fit.
4. Understands the Value of Mentorship
Mentoring is a truly two-way endeavor. Both of you come out of the experience feeling fulfilled. The mentee gets valuable wisdom and guidance on what they want to achieve. The mentor gets to share their expertise and see insights into how the new generation of ambitious people in the field are doing.
Truthfully, some of the best mentors also had great mentors that have tremendously helped them in their personal and professional growth. For example, since the platform launched, Raffaele Miele has been a mentor on MentorCruise. Many mentees noted how Raffaele takes time to listen to their problems and provide meaningful guidance. Here’s a testimonial from one of his mentees:
“Raffaele is not only a talented Data Scientist; he is a great teacher. He has a very clear understanding and vision of the most important areas to focus on. This guidance helped me to become much more efficient in selecting the right technical skills and projects to focus on. I would highly recommend a mentorship with Raffaele for anyone interested in Data Science and Machine Learning.”
- Jonathan, about Raffaele Miele
He understands the value of mentorship and the qualities of a good mentor. Interestingly, Raffaele also had some great mentors in his life, including the head of his Ph.D. department. This allowed him to identify the qualities of a good mentor, and he has applied these insights to his mentoring relationships.
5. Provides Deep Guidance, Constructive Feedback, and Personal Insights
“He is an excellent mentor; he always tries to clarify the doubts from basics which is exactly required for understanding the concepts. He helped not only clarify deep learning and machine learning doubts but also with my career decisions. He encouraged me so many times when I am deviating from my goal, and I will always recommend him.”
- Kali Prasad, about Rachit Kumar Agrawal
A defining quality of a good mentor is their ability to provide quality guidance. Now, this is not just about their excellent expertise on the subject matter. It’s also about the mentor providing wisdom filled with personal insights to the mentee to guide them to their goals.
As a mentor, Rachit not only helped Kali with the basics of deep learning but also with her career. The quality of a good mentor is to provide guidance when the mentee is at a complete loss on what to do next. The mentor listens, synthesizes the information, and offers practical answers to areas that the mentee struggles with.
6. Wants to Maintain the Mentoring Relationship
“Jessica is a brilliant mentor and motivator. She is a very knowledgeable, approachable, and uplifting individual who is a true leader in her field. Jessica has genuinely invested in my development, openly discussed experiences, and provided valuable advice and support.
Thanks to Jessica, I have expanded my marketing knowledge and have made a connection from within her network, where I am now a Marketing & Research Assistant! Thank you, Jessica, for positively influencing my personal and professional development and for being an exceptional mentor!”
- Gagan, about Jessica Bordin
Great mentors take a genuine interest in this mentoring relationship and understand that they have much to benefit from this as the mentees.
In this relationship, there is mutual respect and understanding. But, more importantly, the mentors themselves want to make sure that the mentees get what they need to fulfill their mission.
At some points, mentors even exceed expectations by extending their help in ways that the mentee could have never imagined. For example, Jessica didn’t just provide career guidance to Gagan. She used her network to give him a job!
While getting a job isn’t a prerequisite to good mentoring relationships, this shows how invested Jessica was in helping Gagan.
7. Challenges You to Do Better
At the start, Jordi really challenged me. I think I might have complained a lot at the start that I wasn’t able to find the answers I needed. After a while, Jordi explained to me how important it is in the industry to find these answers through Google and other sources. I did use Google, but he gave me some insights on how it’s really a skill to find the answers you need sometimes!
- Ryan, about Jordi Scharloo
Ryan is a former professional basketball player who now works in cybersecurity. This career change is in itself already impressive. But one thing that effectively allowed him to switch was effective guidance from his mentor, Jordi.
The best thing about mentorship is that it’s all about getting to a specific goal. It’s not about giving out theoretical knowledge and incomplete statistics on the chance of success. Instead, it is about providing pointers that work.
Here, Jordi provides actionable tips on using Google and other research methods to succeed in the industry and provides him with guidance to do better. Jordi then challenged Ryan to do better by applying his new learnings.
8. Has Empathy and Great Listening Skills
The following testimonials show what this point is all about.
“Probably the most knowledgeable person in AWS, DevOps and infrastructure you’re ever going to meet. You should definitely give him a call. He is super kind, understanding and willing to work with you where you are.”
- Peyton, about Yashish Dua
“Stephen was a great listener and was prompt to answer my questions. I was able to complete my short-term career goal and was extended by my client.”
- Pursley, about Stephen Gabriel
“Felix is a great mentor, with years of experience in the marketing industry he knows exactly what hiring managers/recruiters are looking for and he can pinpoint any problems you might have. Really easy to talk to, a very good listener and gives great advice. Cheers Felix!”
- Walter, about Felix Huang
Empathy is an essential quality of a good mentor. By having empathy for the mentee’s struggle, the mentor can give effective advice on the next steps.
In these three mentoring experiences, all mentees have emphasized how the mentor effectively helped them solve their problem after careful listening. So look for a mentor that can effectively listen and help you get out of your funk.
9. Treat Others Respectfully
Respect for others is one of the qualities of a mentor. In addition, mentors are usually discreet in their conversations and quite emotionally intelligent. Emotional intelligence is being aware of other people’s emotions and making decisions or influencing others while controlling emotions and feeling empathy for other people.
Mentors aren’t usually judgmental, and they don’t talk down about others to mentees. They’re not harsh critics, and they don’t unconstructively mistreat their mentees or give them a bad name. Such an attitude usually results in a frustrating and unproductive partnership.
On the rare occasion that a mentor acts less than respectfully, they’re ready to acknowledge it and apologize immediately. While mentors show respect for others, they’re also well respected by others in their field or network.
10. Is a Positive Role Model With a Great Attitude
Positivity is genuinely a defining quality of a good mentor, and most recommendations on MentorCruise partly center on the mentor being positive.
Most of the time, there’s a reason why the mentee was searching for a mentor. The mentee does not know how to proceed toward achieving a specific goal, and other forms of professional development just won’t do.
The mentee wants something more personalized than a teaching session. They want someone who’s been there and done that. As such, mentees may be at their most vulnerable in the initial mentoring sessions. They need help. They need guidance. They need encouragement to achieve their mission.
Therefore, mentors need to be positive role models and positively share their wisdom with the mentees. You don’t encourage a person who’s in doubt by being negative!
How To Spot These Qualities in a Good Mentor
Knowing the qualities to look for in a mentor is enough; you must understand how to spot these attributes. The questions below will help you determine if a mentor is a right fit for you.
- Is it obvious they have ample experience in your career path or industry you’re interested in?
- Do they enjoy being a part of people’s success?
- Do they excel at giving and receiving feedback?
- Are they invested in your personal development and growth?
- Do they speak the truth honestly and respectfully?
- Does your mentor see the value in development and growth generally?
- Do they have mentors of their own? (This is a sign that your mentor understands the impact and value of the mentoring relationship).
7 Reasons a Mentor is Crucial to Your Career
There are many benefits that you get to enjoy from a mentor. In this section, we discuss why a mentor is quite crucial for career growth.
They Kickstart Your Professional Development
When you work with a mentor, you can stay focused on your career. A mentor works with you to help you gain confidence while achieving set goals. Working with a mentor usually leads to self-discovery while growing your career.
Providing constructive feedback is one of the qualities of a good mentor, so you’ll grow professionally and mentally. This way, you’ll know where you’re excelling and areas to work on to take your career to any level you want to attain.
Mentors Help You Set SMART Goals
One of the top reasons you should seek out a career mentor is to set goals. Your mentor can help you determine your objectives using the SMART Process. This means setting:
- Time-sensitive goals
Having SMART goals gives a purpose to the mentoring process.
Mentors Hold You Accountable
By defining your goals and creating the steps you need to get there, a mentor can help you focus on what you should do to make progress in your career. These goals are a sure way to measure mentorship success as well. However, a mentor also keeps you accountable by ensuring you meet objectives at their due date.
Without goals to be accountable for, a mentee usually has no plans or directions of where they should be heading. A mentor is there to keep you on track. They’ll motivate you to go for your goals.
They Develop Your Leadership Skills
Another reason why having a mentor is crucial to your career is because they’ll help you develop leadership skills. Most companies today are looking for employees with leadership skills.
Most new companies seek mentorship for startups to help their employees cultivate leadership skills. These skills include listening, giving and receiving feedback, and compassion.
Leadership skills are crucial for career success, and the ideal mentor helps you develop them. For example, a peer mentoring relationship helps develop crucial soft skills like adaptability, verbal communication, self-awareness, and collaboration.
The study also revealed that mentees experienced increased self-efficacy and the ability to seek support when vital.
- Mentors Develop Your Problem Solving Skills and Confidence
Research revealed that having a mentor helps you improve your emotional health. One of the top mentor traits is assisting mentees in developing problem-solving skills. Mentors offer a unique perspective that can help you change unhelpful thinking ways or bad habits. They’re like a sounding board where you can test ideas out. With a mentor on your side, your problem-solving skills will improve, boosting confidence.
They Help You Expand Your Network
Through mentorship, you can expand your network and gain access to various people in different ways. Again, mentors are professionals and can share their connections with their mentees. Sometimes, your mentor can introduce you to a key individual in your career field who can assist your career development or goals.
One of the leading characteristics of a good mentor is helping mentees get out of their comfort zone and gain access to new opportunities. It is also an effective way to develop soft skills. Since mentors usually have higher industry experience, the connections they provide you with would be valuable for your career advancement.
Mentors offer Encouragement
Sometimes, mentees will struggle to perform their jobs or achieve their goals. In such a case, the ideal mentor is always available to provide support and encouraging words. This encouragement can motivate you to move forward amid challenges.
Amongst good mentor qualities, the ability to identify and express a mentee’s strengths is essential. So, get a mentor who develops your sense of confidence.
Join MentorCruise to Find Out More About Our Great Mentors
In this blog post, you’ve learned some fundamental qualities of a good mentor. It’s now time to find them!
At MentorCruise, we’re obsessed with great mentoring relationships. We want our mentees to get personalized guidance to achieve their goals. In addition, we want mentors to instill their wisdom and experience to mentees who might be a bit confused about how to move forward.
Try it out and be inspired. Sign up for free now.