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Seven Characteristics of an Effective Mentor

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Mentorship is a good way to bring more youth into the industry, attract and retain employees, and advance individual careers and businesses. In my last few posts, I explored these different ways of using mentorship from a construction industry perspective.
While writing these posts, however, I couldn’t help but wonder what makes a good mentor. So I turned to the experts.* Here’s what they list as the top qualities of effective mentors:

1. Active listener

Good mentors are genuinely interested in the people they are mentoring. They know how to ask enlightening questions and value the opinions of others.

2. Trustworthy

They build a bond of trust by following through on their commitments, providing a safe environment for open discussions, and always keeping the mentee’s best interests in mind.

3. Honest

Effective mentors are objective, fair, and diplomatic in their feedback and guidance.

4. Knowledgeable

They stay on top of what’s happening in their field and have the know-how and experience to provide sound advice.

5. Respected

Colleagues and other professionals respect them and they have a network of contacts that can be used to open doors and create opportunities.

6. Open to suggestions

A good mentor knows to pay attention to suggestions the mentee may have and encourage it where appropriate. For example, if the mentee wishes to introduce the latest in cloud based accounting software in order to drive efficiencies.

7. Motivational

As positive role models, themselves, they motivate by example and have the drive to see people succeed.

Characteristics of an effective coaching and mentoring relationship

These characteristics aren’t just concepts or buzzwords – they are pillars for building a stronger, more positive, and ultimately, more impactful mentor-mentee relationship. For example, a mentor who truly practices becoming an active listener might detect personal strengths or challenges in a mentee that would go unnoticed by others. Likewise, a mentor who maintains the trust and respect of his or her peers by staying knowledgeable in the field is likely to have a wider and more valuable professional network, placing the mentor in a better position to open up career opportunities for the mentee.

Whether you want to be a mentor, or you’re selecting one for yourself or a company program, these seven characteristics are key. Of course, mentors should also have some mentorship training if they are involved in a structured program that requires regular meetings, goal setting, and evaluations.

And finally, look for the best match. Some programs will do this by having both the mentor and mentee complete forms asking what they want to get out of a mentorship relationship and other important matching questions. In the end, a successful mentorship starts with a good relationship.
*Sources:
7 key qualities of an effective mentor, Inc.
5 qualities to look for in a mentor, Forbes
9 characteristics of a good mentoring relationship, Huffington Post
Characteristics of a good mentor/coach, Federal Library & Information Center Committee