- Someone you respect in the area you want mentorship on – this requires you to know in what area you want mentorship. for example, if you want a mentor around how to achieve work life balance, then that mentor should have wisdom and experience that you respect in that area
- Mutual rapport and respect – someone you can speak to honestly about your situations and ask questions; someone you respect but also that person is also inspired by your potential. You can read more about this in my article Mentorship Model – Mutual Mentorship or Pay it Forward
- Someone interested in helping others grow and know how to do it - not all brilliant people know how to teach what they know. Same goes with mentors. Not all are created equal. You need to find someone that is interested in helping others and someone that you perceive would give you sound, objective guidance. This quality of a good mentor is especially critical as you will place a lot of trust in your mentor. You need to make sure he or she provides advice based on your interests vs. theirs.
- Someone that is supportive and NOT controlling – a mentor is a guide and not someone that tells you what to do. A mentor should challenge you to look at all aspects and guide you to make your own decision. A mentor is NOT someone who criticizes you for your mistakes. You should find someone who can support and encourage you in your endeavor to develop your skills even if you make mistakes along the way.
- Someone willing to be your mentor – you have to ask someone to be your mentor. Great mentors are also busy people and can only have the capacity to mentor a few well. So make sure if this person has the four qualities above, then you proactively build the relationship for them to be your mentor. See my article on how to ask someone to be your mentor for specific dos and donts advice
Besides the above five qualities of a good mentor, I would also advise the following when looking for a mentor
- Find more than one mentor. This is because even the a good mentor with all the above five qualities will disappoint in one area or another eventually. In fact I think it’s expecting too much when you hope one mentor could provide you all the guidance you need. so instead build a board of advisors – composed of 3 to 5 mentors that can guide you in different aspect of life and career.
- Realize that who should be your mentor changes over time as you grown in career and life. You can read more in this article on who you can model yourself after
Good luck finding a set of great mentors! I am always in your corner