Is a Good Listener: Mentors need to listen more than they talk (good point for all of us) and not be judgmental. Ask to-thepoint questions then be quiet and listen. Take notes if you need to, but take it all in before offering advice. Listening is probably the most important trait of a good mentor and if it’s all about you, you, you, then being a mentor is probably not a good fit. Is Honest: Mentees are usually young and they need honest feedback if they are to learn and grow. Good mentors don’t sugarcoat the truth so they don’t hurt their protégés feelings. Constructive feedback, both positive and negative, is what mentees need in a supportive and professional environment. Acts as a Role Model: Actions still speak louder than words and mentors need to be role models in their work place and in their life in general. This doesn’t mean you’re perfect, it simply means you work in an ethical way, treat others with respect and lead by example. Offers Encouragement: Fear and doubt are common for those just starting their careers and one of the mentor’s jobs is to always offer words of encouragement. This encouragement can come in the form of asking pointed questions, pushing your mentee to take risks and being there when they fail or fall which is inevitable.
Forward thinking companies need to always be training their next generation of leaders, many of which may come from within. Either a formal or informal mentoring program is essential to training these future leaders to understand the organization and how things work within. The best mentors are well connected in their industry and willing to introduce their mentee to their network and will never feel threatened as their protégés develop and become more experienced and skilled. You don’t have to have a special degree or training to be a mentor, but you must have a desire to share your knowledge and skills with others. You also must be willing to devote the time it takes to build a trusting and personal relationship with those you mentor and, just like children, understand that one day they will move on to fill the roles you have trained them for. Janelle’s example of mentoring and teaching will continue, as those she mentored will do the same with others getting started in the business world. She set the bar very high and single-handedly raised the level of professionalism and creativity in our industry and for that we are all very grateful. Thank you Janelle and I suspect you’re up in heaven continuing to share your wisdom with others.
February 2013 • Brilliant Results 17
Published on Feb 21, 2013