Having a respected and willing mentor is critical to our success, whether we are trying to learn the craft of fly fishing, painting, accounting, management, farming, yoga, leadership or any other endeavor that requires the acquisition of significant skills and knowledge.
Quality mentors can make our learning meaningful, relevant, seamless, and relatively disaster free (not mistake free).
From my experiences both as a mentee and a mentor, a few of my thoughts on what makes for a quality mentor:
- They truly believes in and desire to see the mentee succeed.
- They do the work of mentoring for the service, not for the money.
- They are accessible NOW (not two days from now or next week or next month).
- They connect seamlessly with the mentee, face-to-face, by phone, email, text,...
- They share their learning regularly, as well as respond to queries.
- They teach ways of thinking, not procedures.
- They function best outside the organizational structure.
- They help mentees toggle from the BIG picture to the tiniest details constantly.
- They are honest, but not hurtful, in their feedback.
- They "coach on the fly" rather than engage in infrequent yet voluminous exchanges.
- They ask LOTS of good questions.
- They listen powerfully.
Boy, have I had some great ones to learn from!