12 Tips on How to Select an Effective Mentor

12 Tips on How To Select an Effective Mentor - People Development Network
12 Tips on How To Select an Effective Mentor - People Development Network

Perhaps you are looking to step up to the next level in your career and are looking at how to select an effective mentor? You may be considering taking on a new challenge such as a different role, writing a book or setting up your own business.  Selecting an effective mentor can be daunting and building trust is vital to get the best out of the relationship.  Having access to a really supportive mentor can achieve amazing results.

‘Tell me and I forget – teach me and I may remember – involve me and I learn’

Benjamin Franklin

Mentoring is not a method so much as a way of being. At best it is a way to build a relationship with you as the mentee so you can believe in, and progress, your own ideas.  Selecting an effective mentor can greatly enhance your self-belief and motivation particularly in times of change and uncertainty. Many mentees value having someone who really listens, stays non-judgemental and truly believes in their own development.  Ideally, it is a two-way learning process where both mentor and mentee feel accepted and open to what emerges.  Selecting an effective mentor who may have already walked the path you have chosen and have valuable tips and advice to pass on is vital.  They will listen to your ideas and work with you to develop a plan so you can reach your goals as smoothly as possible with a solid foundation.

12 Tips on How to Select an Effective Mentor

When selecting a mentor look for the following, that the mentor, in addition to some specific mentor training or previous mentoring experience…

  1. Is fully committed to building a trusting and open relationship
  2. Is clear about what is expected from both parties
  3. Refrains from making judgements
  4. Listens well with minimum interruption
  5. Has a naturally supportive and positive attitude
  6. Has knowledge and experience in your chosen field
  7. Shares advice and knowledge sensitively
  8. Gives thoughtful, honest and constructive feedback
  9. Has a genuine interest in your advancement
  10. Imparts skills, tools and wisdom appropriate to your needs
  11. Displays integrity and reliability
  12. Encourages the mentee to complete agreed tasks and meet joint expectations

Once you have selected an effective mentor internally you may want to approach HR if they have a matching system set up already. Alternatively asking co-workers who have used a mentor before may be useful.

Most trained mentors will be willing to have a ‘chemistry’ session of about 30 mins to see if you would work well together.  In this case, it is useful to consider what you want to get from the relationship in terms of goals, and desired outcomes both long and short term.  Making a plan before your meet will focus your mind and show your commitment to the mentoring relationship. You need to feel comfortable with your mentor and able to express openly your desires and concerns.  If you are investigating how to work with a mentor then let them know you will be consulting up to three people.  This allows for you to opt out if the ‘chemistry’ session does not feel a good match for you.

Mentoring requires a particular positive mindset and way of being in a respectful conversation with another person.  A mentor will believe in your ability to learn and work with you to nurture that potential. They will guide you to walk your chosen path with fewer pitfalls and hazards.  As a result, you will feel more willing to take responsibility for your progress and feel motivated when you are encouraged and valued.  Selecting the right person to partner you on your journey is vital to your continuing success and achievements.   

Useful resources:

Using LinkedIn to search for an external mentor is a great networking

method. www.uk.linkedin.com topic ‘mentoring’ There are also several mentoring groups you can join for insights and discussions.

www.slideshare.net Linkedin Slideshare: Coaching V Mentoring what’s the difference?

Mentoring organisations:

EMCC  European Coaching and Mentoring Council  www.emcc.com

The Aspire Foundation www.theaspirefoundation.org

Mentors Me www.mentorsme.co.uk

Women 1st www.women1st.co.uk

Mentoring Foundation www.mentoringfoundation.co.uk




ICF Executive Coach & CSA Supervisor at Coach4Executives
Experienced Professional ICF Executive Coach & CSA Dip Supervisor Specialising in Cross-Cultural Understanding, Advanced Communication and Working with International teams BOOKS: 'Coaching Skills for Leaders' and 'Coaching Supervision at its BEST' Both ILM validated Full Spectrum Supervision - Edna Murdoch & Jackie Arnold 2013 AWARDS: Executive Coaching ECI & Exelerate
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