It is essential to choose wisely when selecting a mentor. They should be someone you look up to and aspire to be like. With that said, all good mentors share several qualities.
- Experience and success: At the most basic level, your mentor should have more experience than you and a track record of success. “A great mentor is someone whose qualities make up a much better version of who you envision yourself to become,” Argyropoulos said.
- Excellent character: Doug White, retirement plan specialist at TCG, recommends seeking a mentor with a strong character and traits worth emulating. “Look for mentors who are authentic, empathetic, creative and honest. You need someone who’s caring and invested in your professional growth, but also someone who will speak truth to you. Sometimes you need some constructive criticism or a reality check, while other times you need a high five or pat on the back. A well-chosen mentor can provide all of those things.”
- Similar values to your own: A mentor in the same business area may better understand your business’s challenges and concerns, but Storey noted that fruitful mentoring relationships don’t necessarily have to happen within the same industry. Leadership style may be more important. “Make sure that the mentor shares a similar value system in leadership and management. Knowing who you are as a leader is critical before entering into a mentoring relationship. Only then can you align yourself with the right guide.”