How to Be a Good Mentor


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Congratulations on your new mentoring relationship! Mentoring rewards can be enormous but it does take effort and of course, preparation. There’s plenty of advice out there how to be a good mentor and much of it is solid. However, today we’re excited about providing you with tips you can start putting into action.

We’ve thought about it hard, consulted our in-house mentoring experts, and distilled their advice into five impactful tips on how to be a great mentor:

  1. Set expectations at the start
  2. Develop capabilities
  3. Provide perspective
  4. Inspire
  5. Give and receive feedback

More on Becoming a Good Mentor

1. Set expectations at the start.

The first meeting between you and your mentee is important because it’s the first step towards your goal of being a good mentor. By setting expectations from the very beginning, you’ll ensure that you and your mentee will be productive from the start rather than dealing with false expectations. Here’s what we suggest you cover in your first meeting:

  • How much time you both can invest into the relationship
  • What you as the mentor can help with
  • Your preferred mode of communication, and how and where you’ll meet
  • What your mentee’s expectations are, and how to find a middle ground for the expectations if compromise is needed


2. Develop capabilities.

After your first meeting, you’ll want to start working on developing your mentee’s capabilities. This is much of what mentoring is about. We suggest you work with the mentee and begin creating strategies to meet challenges and find direction. Part of this also includes:

  • Creating short- and long-term goals, along with a plan for achieving them
  • Assessing skills and identifying development areas consistent with professional goals
  • Helping the mentee monitor performance and refocus steps as needed


3. Provide and receive perspective.

Often, good mentors also find their perspective shifts as a result of talking to their mentees. Many mentors find this to be the most valuable part of their mentoring relationship. When you’re talking with your mentee, try to:

  • Broaden the mentee’s perspective of the organization’s history, values, and culture
  • Ask thought-provoking questions to encourage development of competencies and attitudes
  • Identify resources the mentee may not yet be taking advantage of


4. Inspire.

Your mentee is eager to learn and ready to learn from you. Good mentors take that eagerness and turn it into real excitement. Inspire your mentee to improve by:

  • Challenging the mentee to rise above the usual
  • Showing the mentee how to behave in a way that inspires others
  • Modelling attitudes and behavior consistent with company values


5. Give and receive feedback.

Feedback is key to a successful mentoring relationship and how you deliver it will determine how receptive the mentee is. But good mentors are receptive to feedback too. Although the mentoring relationship is mainly for the sake of the mentee, don’t forget that mentors often learn from it as well. Here are our tips for feedback:

  • Give specific, immediate, and private feedback
  • Offer useful suggestions for the mentee to try next time
  • Uphold confidentiality and strive for mutual respect


Additional feedback tips

Because providing feedback is so important to being a good mentor, we’re providing you with some additional advice. Good feedback should be:

  • Specific: Directed at behavior, not the person
  • Timely: Given as soon as possible after the event
  • Balanced: Regularly provide both positive feedback and areas of improvement
  • Frequent: Provide feedback in an ongoing fashion
  • Captured: Feedback should be captured by the recipient in writing so he or she can review it regularly



Being a good mentor is a serious commitment but it’s important to have fun, which will encourage you to put more effort into being an effective mentor. So have a great time, encourage your mentee to have fun too, and enjoy the productive outcomes of mentoring!

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