8 Golden rules great Mentors follow

Working with someone in a mentoring relationship can be a really rewarding experience for both the mentor and the mentee.

Working with someone in a mentoring relationship can be a really rewarding experience for both the mentor and the mentee.

Other than being rewarding and fun, a mentor shoulders a large amount of responsibility. Someone with less experience in a particular area is putting their faith in you to guide them and provide high-level advice, in order to make a better informed decision. In that respect you are making yourself available as a trusted support network.

The best mentors share their knowledge, expertise, wins and failures with their mentees while creating an environment for them to flourish. This works both ways too - for a successful mentor/mentee relationship, the mentor also needs to believe in the person they are mentoring.

We spoke to a few of the mentors from some of the communities we support at Mentorjam, what they say about mentoring and how you can best add value as a mentor.

1 - Define expectations and goals

The chances are high that you won’t know your mentee well at the start of the relationship. That bond will come over time, but it’s important to define clear expectations and goals from the very first interaction.

Establish the type of relationship, what it is they want to gain from the mentorship, and layout a plan to help them get to where they want to be. The best mentors know that each mentorship is different, so there is no definitive formula. That doesn’t mean they can’t lay out the foundations for what a plan or programme will cover, but it does help with setting some expectations for both.

2 - Take a personal interest

The best mentors are invested in the success of their mentee. It’s not a simple business transaction that involves providing a service with little else attached. They display knowledge but also compassion and take an invested interest in their mentee’s values, goals and aspirations.

Your mentee may have come to you for business advice or, for helping them achieve particular career goals. However, for a mentor to really add that extra spark and value add information to the mentorship is by getting to know their mentee on a more personal level - what motivates them or their personal goals, dreams and aspirations, their likes and dislikes.

3 - Be honest or go home

People don’t like to admit to it, but failing is one of the most powerful things that can happen to humans - especially career-wise. “Fail forward” is a saying for a reason. Learning from past setbacks provides experience and helps us better solve problems in the future.

Don't be afraid to share your failures and lessons learnt with your mentee. Let them know that you too made mistakes on your way to success. Some people aren’t always as forthcoming with their mistakes as they think it displays weakness. Showing where you went wrong and how you overcame that, can be hugely empowering for your mentees.

4 - Value your own continuous progression

This is one I particularly like and wholeheartedly believe it. Being a good mentor involves continuous personal progression. A mentor that feels stagnant in their own professional life will find it hard to offer the right type of guidance to their mentee. How can you teach new things to others, if you are unwilling to learn yourself?

Good mentors are continually learning and developing their expertise. Perhaps by attending conferences, webinars, talks or participating in workshops. That zest and drive to improve and contribute is what places them in a healthy position to be a successful mentor.

5 - Listen with your ears and with your heart

I always tell my children to listen with their ears and with their eyes - that way I know I have all (or most) of their attention. In the same way, a great mentor will listen with their ears but also with their hearts, as often it is not what they say but how they say it, or with what intent.

We are not all born great listeners and good news, this is something that you can work on and improve, or at least be attently aware of during your conversations with your mentee. Being that listener that also hears those often unspoken aspects of a conversation will really make a huge impact on the contribution of your mentorship.

6 - Practice a long-term mindset

Some mentorships do not last forever but some of course do! Mentors that have a long-term mindset are better equipped to help their mentees now and as the mentorship progresses, and their impact will also be felt long after a mentorship might have ended. By having that long-term mindset and then giving your mentee ownership of their path, you are positioning them to be in a place where they can make decisions after the mentorship has finished.

A good example of where long-term thinking works particularly well is when a mentor and mentee are based at the same company. This is not always possible as you might find a mentee via a professional network or community, but even more so, understanding their long term vision will set you apart from other mentors they might have had in the past.

7 - Stop to celebrate successes

The reason a mentee is working with a mentor is to progress in a particular area or goal, and sharing knowledge is progress. They want to learn, develop their skills and hit some goals! While it’s important to walk before running, any success the mentee has should be acknowledged and celebrated.

Celebrating success isn’t just recognising achievements; it also boosts the confidence of the mentee. The natural tone of the relationship will most likely veer towards one where the mentee looks for approval. Discussing and celebrating their success is a way to show them that you believe in what they are doing.

8 - Review and reflect… then refine

As with all relationships, it is important to review and reflect. Not only on the experience so far, and what has been learnt or shared, but also the impact it has had on the other person. The same goes for a mentoring relationship. Make sure to review and reflect on how things are going and if the expectations and goals you agreed on at the start are still in sight.

There is of course the possibility that over times initial expectations and goals have changed and that is totally fine, but it is still a good idea to review and reflect on those and why things have changed.

As a mentor you will likely also learn a few things about yourself during the process and, but most importantly, you will set someone on the right path to a successful and rewarding career.

Mentorjam is a Dutch startup, founded in April 2020. They were born out of frustration, and their passion and belief in the Power of Mentoring lead them to create a truly unique solution for organizations who want to deliver change through Mentoring.

The team at Mentorjam believes that every person needs a mentor. Sharing knowledge is progress, progress drives change, and change is a motivator. The Mentorjam Whitelabel Saas solution enables communities, organizations, and ecosystems of all sizes to provide mentoring solutions that really add value.

To make a difference in this world we should inwardly reflect on what we can share, teach or learn from others to really deliver change. To find out more or book a demo visit

225 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All