Being a Good Mentor

Apr 21, 2022

Recently a client asked me for resources on how to be a good mentor. I didn't have a specific book off the top of my head. If you know of one, please send it to me so that I can pass it on. Instead of referring to an outside resource, I decided to tap into what I could offer myself from my years of supporting my clients. 

Here are some of my thoughts on how to be a good mentor.

Be a proactive listener.

Reflect to your mentee their strengths using specific observations.

Establish a safe space to bring up tough topics. 

Point them to their inner wisdom, to trust their gut and intuition.

Remind them "Everything is Figure Outable". That is a book by Marie Foleo.  

Help them to see they have more choices than they first realize. 

I love this quotation that I just read from a coach:

"Empathy can contain or empath can expand."  ~ by Bob Yamtich

Help them to expand their awareness, capacity, and perceptions. Help them to contain their vulnerability, and diminish their self-limiting beliefs.

When you catch your mentee operating from a self-limiting belief, tell them what you observed in the way they spoke or acted from that limiting belief and offer a reframing or teach them the "art of reframing".

Be sincere, be genuine,

Be transparent if it is appropriate and offers a model for growth.

Encourage the skill of discerning when to tap into inner resources and when to reach out and ask for guidance, (not just from you but from an expert in their field).

Role model boundary setting.

Know how much time you have to offer and let your mentee know that upfront.

Set boundaries on when and how to communicate with you.

Think about what needs of yours get met by being a mentor. Here are a few that may ring true for you. Being a mentor may meet your need for:

  • meaning and purpose
  • meaningful contribution
  • connection
  • to be heard
  • to give back
  • for your learning and growth
  • etc. 

Reminder from my colleague Keira Lani:
The thing I would add is to always be ready to learn from your mentee, maintaining the spirit of a lifelong learner allows you to show up as a mentor in ways you may not have even known you could.

Here is a link contributed  by my colleague Akeela Davis for emboldening women in the workplace: