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What skills do I need to be a good mentor?

I'm curious about becoming a peer mentor to help me gain counseling skills and help me get into the non-profit. #volunteering #counseling #mentoring #personal-development

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Subject: Career question for you


9 answers

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Kia’s Answer

Hi Mounica,

Being a good mentor is just staying consistent and positive when mentoring a person. Listen to their issues and concerns in order to steer them in the best direction possible. Do some volunteer work and ask to shadow a guidance counselor at a school. That will help build up your expertise in the line of work and help you with networking with starting up your non-profit. Make sure to do your research on what you will need to do to start up your own organization and apply for what you need to get it up and running. I hope that this helps and please keep me posted.

Best of Luck

Thank you comment icon Thank you for your answer! Mounia
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WADDAH’s Answer

Top 10 Qualities of a Good Mentor

A good mentoring relationship provides new employees as well as interns with someone that will share their professional knowledge and expertise in the field. A good mentor is available to answer any questions relevant to the job. Good mentor-mentee relationships are a two way street; consequently, if you want a good relationship with your mentor, become a good mentee. This requires a genuine interest in your mentor and a willingness to do what it takes to become successful as an intern or new employee in the field. Following suggestions and recommendations as well as reading all pertinent literature available in the field is a good way to show your mentor that you are committed to being successful and that you take your career and responsibilities seriously.

A good mentor possesses the following qualities:

1- Willingness to share skills, knowledge, and expertise.

A good mentor is willing to teach what he/she knows and accept the mentee where they currently are in their professional development. Good mentors can remember what it was like just starting out in the field. The mentor does not take the mentoring relationship lightly and understands that good mentoring requires time and commitment and is willing to continually share information and their ongoing support with the mentee.

2- Demonstrates a positive attitude and acts as a positive role model.
A good mentor exhibits the personal attributes it takes to be successful in the field. By showing the mentee what it takes to be productive and successful, they are demonstrating the specific behaviors and actions required to succeed in the field.

3- Takes a personal interest in the mentoring relationship.
Good mentors do not take their responsibility as a mentor lightly. They feel invested in the success of the mentee. Usually this requires someone who is knowledgeable, compassionate, and possesses the attributes of a good teacher or trainer. Excellent communication skills are also required. A good mentor is committed to helping their mentees find success and gratification in their chosen profession. Overall good mentoring requires empowering the mentee to develop their own strengths, beliefs, and personal attributes.

4- Exhibits enthusiasm in the field.
A mentor who does not exhibit enthusiasm about his/her job will ultimately not make a good mentor. Enthusiasm is catching and new employees want to feel as if their job has meaning and the potential to create a good life.

5- Values ongoing learning and growth in the field.
Mentors are in a position to illustrate how the field is growing and changing and that even after many years there are still new things to learn. Anyone that feels stagnant in their current position will not make a good mentor. When starting out in a new career, people want to feel that the time and energy they spend learning will be rewarded and will ultimately provide them with career satisfaction. Good mentors are committed and are open to experimenting and learning practices that are new to the field. They continually read professional journals and may even write articles on subjects where they have developed some expertise. They are excited to share their knowledge with new people entering the field and take their role seriously in teaching their knowledge to others. They may choose to teach or attend classes to further develop their knowledge and skills. They enjoy taking workshops and attending professional conferences provided through their membership in professional associations.

6- Provides guidance and constructive feedback.
One of the key responsibilities of a good mentor is to provide guidance and constructive feedback to their mentee. This is where the mentee will most likely grow the most by identifying their current strengths and weaknesses and learning how to use these to make themselves successful in the field. A good mentor possess excellent communication skills and is able to adjust their communication to the personality style of the mentee. A good mentor will also provide the mentee with challenges that will foster professional development and a feeling of accomplishment in learning the field.

7- Respected by colleagues and employees in all levels of the organization.
Ideally mentees look up to their mentors and can see themselves filling the mentor's role in the future. Mentees want to follow someone who is well respected by colleagues and co-workers and whose contribution in the field is appreciated.

8- Sets and meets ongoing personal and professional goals.
A good mentor continually sets a good example by showing how his/her personal habits are reflected by personal and professional goals and overall personal success.

9- Values the opinions and initiatives of others.
A mentor who values others is also someone who works well in a team environment and is willing to share his/her success. A good mentor appreciates the ongoing effort of the mentee and empowers him/her through positive feedback and reinforcement.

10- Motivates others by setting a good example.

Thank you comment icon Thank you for a concise answer! Mounia
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Mahesh’s Answer

A good mentor needs to posses the skills of understanding the people, their weaknesses, and strengths. Needs to have a passion to help people. Needs to have analytical skills on evaluating the situations and provide the guidance to overcome mentee's weaknesses and double down on the strengths.

A good mentor first tries to understand the person, who he/she wants to mentor. Understand the mentee's personality, culture, his/her strengths, and weaknesses. Also understand the mentee's core values. Sometimes mentees don't know what their core values are. You as a mentor has to find out what the mentee really enjoys working on and what he/she believes at core. Then, ask questions on why the mentee thinks he/she needs to achieve something, for which you are helping. Don't directly provide the solutions but ask questions so that the mentee can think and come up with his/her own solutions. At last, you need to ask for the mentee's commitment to work on the solution with timelines.

Hope this helps. You might also want to refer to any online tutorials/youtube/coursera. Good luck!

Thank you comment icon Thank you for your answer! This is very helpful! Mounia
Thank you comment icon you have to be patience and be willing to meet a person where they are Tyson Mangrum, MBA
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Sheila’s Answer

Hi Mounia:

This is a great question. I mentor a lot in my organization and I agree with Vidhya's comments. Below is the approach I normally take when mentoring someone, whether a new hire or someone aspiring to get their PMP (Project Management Certification). Best of luck to you!

Sheila recommends the following next steps:

Share my skills and knowledge
Act as a positive role model
Passionate about mentoring
Enthusiastic about the field/subject
Research further for growth and learning
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Amy’s Answer

Listen; think about what is best for that person’s path, not necessarily your own; be open and transparent; be honest - don’t mislead or tell them what they want to hear

Amy recommends the following next steps:

Find an experienced mentor to gather their feedback
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Yasemin’s Answer

Hi Mounia ! Students look up to mentor for guidance and to be listened to; many times students need mentors because of coursework or they may also be going through some difficult times like applying to college and finding their path. Therefore, as a mentor it is important to be someone who is compassionate and is ready to help; it's important to be kind and non-judgmental because if a student needs you to listen to them it will be easier if you seem open to communication. You can also use your experiences to help with guiding your student, maybe you also struggled with a class or were unsure about your own career choices, these experiences can help shape your advice to provide the most accurate. If a student is talking let them finish their thoughts before speaking yourself and remember as a mentor and even a future counselor, your main task is to listen first and then try to help. Sometimes some situations may not have an end means in terms of a solution but most of the time just by listening and allowing a person to express themselves will do much good, even if there really isn't a solution to offer. Honestly in the end, just be yourself as well, show that you are compassionate and helpful; being a mentor takes time and effort but if you signed up for it then it means that you do care and do hold the traits for it. You just have to discover them with time as well!

I hope this helps!
Best of luck!
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Vidhya’s Answer

  • Willingness to share skills, knowledge, and expertise. ...
  • Demonstrates a positive attitude and acts as a positive role model. ...
  • Takes a personal interest in the mentoringrelationship. ...
  • Exhibits enthusiasm in the field. ...
  • Values ongoing learning and growth in the field.

For more insights on mentoring and business visit <a href=""> Mentor Services</a>

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Kim’s Answer


You ask a lot of questions that are in my area of interests!

I do not consider myself a "mentor," in the traditional sense, in that I don't have anyone that I have taken under my wing. But I know I have made a difference in a lot of peoples' lives.
I think the reasons I am successful are (1) I am "down to earth" (their words, not mine), (2) I listen, and (3) I have life experiences, sometimes similar to theirs.

When you are trying to work with someone else, especially if you get close to them, you will need to separate the friendship from the mentorship. Also, do a lot of listening. Hear what they are saying, and be supportive and guiding in helping them to make decisions. And sometimes that means a little "tough love." I abruptly ended a job interview prep session the other day, because the person was preparing for their third interview for the position, and had not yet researched the company, even though that had been a stumbling block in the previous interview. I showed her the website, and then sent her on her way. She came back to thank me for that. And, to tell me she got the job! You will find that some people try to latch onto you. You will need to cut the cord, and help them sprout their wings. You will also find those who reject you until you have established a bond. I faced this when working in a part of town that was racially different from me. Overall, helping others is a very rewarding experience!

Let me ask you a couple questions. You are in college. Do they have activities you could get involved in that would give you some exposure to this? I know many campuses have Peer mentoring groups. I think it would be great for you to start getting into things like that!

Also, why are you limiting yourself to non-profits, if I might ask? Just curious!


Thank you comment icon Hi Kim, thank you for your advice. Hopefully, I'm destined to have a career similar to yours! Kim, I'm sure that my college offers activities that would help me become a better mentor, but as an online student in another state my options are a bit limited. And I am currently looking to get into the non-profit sector as part of a career change from financial services. Either through increased volunteer work or employment (the preferred option). Mounia
Thank you comment icon I forgot about the on-line schools. bummer! Kim Igleheart
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Shandra’s Answer

In order to be a good mentor, I feel you have to be a good communicator and listener. You have to lead by example and build relationships. Build your circle of influence by remaining teachable and flexible. Maintain integrity.