by Jo Anne | 25 June 2021
A great mentor is made up of many qualities.
The more expected ones being having the expertise and knowledge as well as active listening and being able to provide appropriate feedback and advice just to name a few.
But here’s a couple that aren't often talked about or emphasized enough; self-awareness and enthusiasm.
These two qualities deeply define a mentorship relationship, why?
Self-awareness shines a light on behavioural blind spots for both mentor and mentee and enthusiasm plays the part of keeping mentees hopeful and emotionally invested in the process as well as the outcome.
So how do you know if you as a mentor carry these qualities?
1. You’re engaged with your surroundings
When you work, you don’t just work in the industry or drag yourself from paycheck to paycheck, waiting for the day, weeks, months to end. You participate. You expand past what you know.
You look beyond the work towards other departments, other organizations, especially competitors, keeping a birds’ eye view on the industry and seeing how everything plays a part.
Most of all, you really believe in the work you’re doing. That is the kind of quality that inspires mentees and helps them see purpose in their endeavour.
2. You’ve got a big picture mindset
Your experiences (no matter how long) have given you a broader perspective of the industry you’re in or have been in. These experiences mean you’re more likely to see how challenges or actions have an impact on the mentee or organization in the long run. With this advantage, you’re better able to see opportunities at every corner.
This mindset often goes hand in hand with being detail oriented as it is important that you as a mentor are able to see the bigger picture while also being able to guide your mentee on where they could or should be headed.
3. You express enthusiasm for their chosen field
Have you ever spoken with someone who is so passionate about their interests and before you know it, you’ve found yourself inspired by their words?
Similarly, in a mentorship relationship, mentees are subconsciously impacted by a mentor’s enthusiasm for their craft and the relationship. Enthusiasm is infectious, making it imperative you exude enjoyment and positivity while mentoring.
It plays a vital role in giving mentees the hope that there is meaning in their pursuit and potential in the creation of their journey.
4. You act instead of react emotionally to difficult situations
Self-awareness is key to taking the right actions or reactions that lead to optimal outcomes. A self-aware mentor taps into strengths, skills, intuition and experiences to help successfully navigate these areas.
By taking a step back and evaluating the situation, you react better to challenging situations in a composed and more systematic manner.
In a mentoring relationship, this helps you provide your mentee with different perspectives and sound advice on identifying and tackling their own challenges in their circumstances. Behaviourally, you are able to point out where they can better improve themselves to improve their situation.
5. You’re self-aware about your own actions
Personal self-awareness also means you recognize your own behaviour and emotions within the mentorship relationship.
Being able to call yourself out for your own mistakes and shortcomings will in turn provide your mentee with reasonable insight into their own behavioural patterns...and show that mentors are humans too.
Your observations and reflective skills are crucial for you to be able to effectively support your mentee on their journey towards improvement. This is because as a mentor, you are the defining structure of a strong character for your mentee, creating the possibilities for them to be purposeful and trustworthy leaders.
By exuding these qualities, it shows itself in your day to day relationships and in this case, your mentorship relationships. So, which qualities do you see in yourself?
More importantly, do you see it translate into your mentees?