If you’ve excelled in anything, chances are you are or have been in a mentorship position. Being a mentor means that you are in an experienced and trusted position to provide advice, guidance, and support.
I’ve been lucky to have met and worked with lots of amazing mentors who have made all the difference in my career, so I thought it was time to pass on what I’ve learned to others. I always knew I was passionate about fashion, supporting other women, and had a pretty good business sense, but who knew I’d end up here? I feel so blessed every day.
Here are my 10 tips for being a great mentor.
1. Willing to Share
This might be the most important component to being a good mentor. Be willing to share what you’ve learned, the mistakes you’ve made, and all that contributes to your success is key. Great mentors can remember when they first started out and what it was like. Feeling protective over what you’ve learned and wanting to keep it for yourself is not a positive or beneficial way to be a mentor. Instead, be willing to share each trial and tribulation that got you to where you are today. None of us are perfect, and it can be very helpful and inspiring to be mentored by someone who is willing to share both the good and the bad.
Being a mentor doesn’t mean only giving advice and not getting anything in return — just because you have your own goals and dreams doesn’t mean someone else is going to have the same as you. Recognize that even if you are mentoring someone in the same business as you, they can have a completely different end goal. Ask them how you can help them achieve, and be willing to truly listen and understand what it is they want and how you can help them get there.
3. Provide Constructive Feedback
As someone who has gone through lots of ups and downs, it’s important to recognize that people you mentor will go through similar obstacles and hardships. If someone makes a mistake, don’t be judgmental, but instead offer constructive feedback that helps them to stand back up and pivot in order to move on. You can draw from your own experiences by explaining a time you made a mistake, which can make a person feel more supported and less defensive. Great mentors know how to be honest and positive without being mean or insensitive.
4. Keep a Positive Attitude
No one wants to be mentored by someone who is always negative, but by keeping a positive attitude, you can be a role model and exhibit the behaviours that make a successful person, no matter the field they are in. By example, show people the importance of keeping positive.
5. Always Encourage
It’s important to be a mentor that encourages, pushes, and guides people in the right direction. Being an entrepreneur requires constant evolving and learning, which means there is no time for second guessing.
Identify their strengths and weaknesses in order to figure out what aspects of their personality need to be encouraged. Some people are naturally able to make quick decisions and think on their feet, while other people are great at connecting with others or networking on social media. Whatever someone’s talent, be a great mentor by encouraging them to further develop the skills they are already good at and improve upon ones that aren’t as strong.
6. Step Back
Just because you may know better doesn’t mean you should always interject your opinion. Just like you had to go through your own mistakes, acknowledge that often, the best way to learn is through trial and error. Let your mentee make their own decisions, and remember that you are only there to help guide, not steer their ship for them. It’s important to let people be in charge of their own life, and sometimes that requires taking a step back.
7. Have Empathy
As a mentor and just in life, it’s important to be empathetic towards others. Empathy relates to our ability to understand other people’s feelings, and can be shown by being a good listener, asking questions and being curious, limiting judgment, and just understanding that each of us are on their own path. Be an influential mentor by having empathy for your mentees.
8. Be Enthusiastic
As a great mentor, it’s important to be super enthusiastic about your field/industry, because it inspires people to feel the same way. Enthusiasm is contagious, and you want to pump people up about their job because it will inspire them to work hard and love their industry even more.
9. Be Respected & Respectful
We all know those people in our field that are untrustworthy, fake, or just downright not respected. Those people don’t make great mentors, because likely they haven’t treated people well or have done something shady to make people think that way. But, being respected is important because people will look up to and trust you.
This goes both ways — to garner respect you have to give respect. Always be polite, positive, and supportive, and people will look up to you as someone who is appreciated and respected.
10. Motivate Others
As a mentor, it’s important to find out what motivates others and how you can make it happen for other people. Find what drives your mentees, and encourage them along those lines — because what motivated you might not be motivating to someone else.