Career Insider: How to be a better mentor
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Career Insider: How to be a better mentor

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Career Insider: How to be a better mentor

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Mentors can have profound impacts on the lives of the people they mentor. A mentor is often a source of wisdom and support over the course of months or even years. The relationship between mentor and mentee can endure as long as each person desires.

Serving as a mentor can be rewarding. Certain traits and practices set mentors apart. Those who want to be mentors can follow these tips.

Be a good and active listener

Mentors help mentees navigate the tricky waters of life but will not solve all problems. Mentors need to listen to what mentees say, meaning good listening skills are an essential trait for prospective mentors.

After listening, mentors can provide a host of solutions, though ultimately it is up to the mentee to find his or her own path.

Meld with the mentee

Mentors and their mentees need to be close and compatible. A good mentor will not try to manipulate or influence decisions, but realize that support and guidance are the best ways to get messages across.

Asking a lot of questions and truly getting to know the mentee can set a strong foundation for the relationship.

Emphasize learning

Mentors realize that continuing education is vital to success. Good mentors tend to be lifelong learners who share the lessons they’ve learned with the people they mentor. Even though they may not always be experts, mentors try to be as informed as possible on topics that relate to the mentorship.

Set expectations

It is one thing to provide support, but mentors also should inspire their mentees to work hard. Once mentees cite their goals, good mentors will share their own expectations and goals for their mentees, even going so far as to offer advice as to how to achieve those goals.

Deliver honest feedback

Good mentors will not sugarcoat feedback in order to stay in their mentees’ good graces. A mentor should aspire to be both a critic and a coach. Even though mentees may want to garner praise, mentors know it is important to say what others may not be willing to say. With the right feedback, mentees can flourish.

Honesty, listening skills, a life-long desire to learn, and the ability to mesh with a mentee are all qualities of solid mentors.

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