A mentor is that one person who can guide you, help you, take you under his or her wing, and nurture your career quest. What separates a mentor from the average contact is long-term commitment and deep seated investment in your future. Mentors not only help you in your career, but they can also be very influential in your personal life.
Without a good mentor people find themselves running in place. You are making decisions and going down roads blind. No amount of hard work will compensate for going the wrong direction. In most cases you wont even know it was the wrong direction until you reach the end. You need that person to hold up the U-turn sign.
So what makes up a good mentor? Many people feel that being a mentor requires special skills, but mentors are simply people who have the qualities of good role models.
They maintain eye contact and give mentees their full attention.
Mentors are there to help their mentees find life direction, never to push them.
Mentors are practical.
They give insights about keeping on task and setting goals and priorities.
Mentors educate about life and their own careers.
Mentors provide insight.
Mentors use their personal experience to help their mentees avoid mistakes and learn from good decisions.
Mentors are accessible.
Mentors are available as a resource and a sounding board.
Mentors criticize constructively.
When necessary, mentors point out areas that need improvement, always focusing on the mentee’s behavior, never his/her character.
Mentors are supportive.
No matter how painful the mentee’s experience, mentors continue to encourage them to learn and improve.
Mentors are specific.
Mentors give specific advice on what was done well or could be corrected, what was achieved and the benefits of various actions.
Mentors care about their mentees’ progress in school and career planning, as well as their personal development.
Mentors not only are successful themselves, but they also foster success in others.
Mentors are admirable.
Mentors are usually well respected in their organizations and in the community.