4 Things To Look For In A Mentor

from Forbes

Mentors can help you in many ways in your career. They can help you gain confidence, develop skills in a new job, and even help you get promoted. Many women credit having a mentor as a key to their success.

What should you look for when choosing a mentor?

More here.

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59 Responses to 4 Things To Look For In A Mentor

  1. Douglas Tkac November 16, 2018 at 8:16 pm #

    Nowadays, it is more important than ever to have (or to at the very least, think about) a mentor guide you through your struggles that you might have. A lot of people can be picky with their mentors, but for good reason and this article breaks down how picky you might have to be if you want to seek a mentor that suits you well and can help you grow.

    I think something that this article mentions that needs more emphasis involves the element of contrast between you and your mentor. As the article states, this doesn’t mean necessarily that you got to pick someone polar opposite, but don’t pick a clone of yourself (Prossack). I think this is very important for this up-and-coming generation. The reason I say this is because I feel that nowadays people surround themselves with other people who constantly push them up and ignore any type of miscues or mistakes, which is leading to our generation essentially being babied. With a sense of contrast, people (or in this case, a mentor) can explain to you what could be wrong or what needs improvement for your sake, instead of blindly gassing you up and pretending to be your BFF.

    Another aspect that the article explains is trust, which is also something that needs a little more emphasis these days. There is a barrier of awkwardness between mentor and mentee (as there should be), but it shouldn’t last for so long. There should come a point where both can break out of their shells and trust each other by being completely honest and letting the mentor or mentee know exactly what they might be thinking. If it’s a certain idea that someone might be scared to blurt out because you might sound like an ignoramus? Go ahead, blurt it out. What’s the worst that can happen. The same can go towards the mentor, don’t like something you see/hear? Give positive and negative feedback on it as honest as you can be.

    I feel like this article, albeit older, should be sent to a lot of people that I know. This generation needs a little bit of a wake up call if we’re going to start changing the world for the better, and it all starts with just simple communication.

  2. Kayla Clavijo February 1, 2019 at 2:58 pm #

    Upon reading the Forbes article, the author mentions 4 aspects: compatibility, contrast, expertise and trust as the ones that could help determine how to wisely choose a mentor. To begin with, whatever it is that you want to accomplish in life, in a job or a learning environment, a mentor is going to kick start you on the path to achieve it. When you have a mentor, you are learning from someone who has already arrived at where you want to be. They know exactly what it takes to get there and what sacrifices need to be made. When seeking for a mentor, there needs to be a certain degree of compatibility between the mentor and mentee in order for mentoring to be successful. A mentor and mentee must be able to enjoy each other’s company, and that is with each other’s willingness. Your mentor must be willing to take on the mentoring role, willing to grow together and must be entirely committed. Your mentor has to be approachable at all times and as a mentee, you have to be willing to take advice and criticism and put forth an effort. They should also be willing to put you outside of your comfort zone, therefore as the article states “this person should be a bit outside your comfort zone as well.” In other words, your mentor should be someone who offers encouragement and assistance, the age difference and gender should not matter. As in the article, it is the knowledge you get out of the relationship that should matter. Overall, as a mentee understand that a mentor isn’t in your life to judge you but in your life to give you a helping hand and guide you to the right path.

    In my view, I consider trust to be the most important thing to look for in a mentor because that is someone you are turning to, too help you find the solutions to your issues. But, as the article explains, trust goes both ways and you must prove that you respect your mentor. I agree because a good mentor-mentee relationship is built on trust. For this reason, it is important to not take their help for granted and explain exactly what you need from them. From experience, a mentor provides attention, help, advice, information, and encouragement that you will need in a professional life and in your general life. My real mentor of my life is my beloved Mother. My mother has always helped me in every phase of life. I have achieved so much in life and became the person I am today due to my mother’s guidance and support throughout life. She is the only one who can feel inside me and willing to help me in any possible way that I need. A mentor is a good listener, observer, and problem-solver and that is exactly what my mother is. She is someone I can trust when I am trying to find the solutions to issues I face in life. As a mentor, she touches on the lessons she learned when she was in the same positions I was in. She also empowers me to develop my own strengths, beliefs, and personal attributes. Overall, I think that everyone should have a mentor, someone who is who helping you in making decisions, overcome difficult situations and guide you towards the right path. Use this opportunity to make the most of it, to have confidence in yourself and to reach your potential goals!

  3. Daibelis Acevedo February 1, 2019 at 6:19 pm #

    This Forbes article by Ashira Prossack gave me some guidance and signs that I have been needing. In general, finding the perfect mentor is really tricky because sometimes it’s hard to find someone compatible. Finding the right mentor is extremely important because it is someone who will be guiding you in very critical times of life. I think that a mentor is meant to help and guide you in making decisions and maybe show you alternatives. As a student who is undecided, I have had a lot of trouble when it comes to course decisions and what classes I should be taken. I can say that my mentor was not the best and we were not really as compatible as I hoped we would be. He was very nice and respectful, but I don’t think he knew how to handle or help someone who is as undecided as I am, and that’s okay because not every mentor will know how to deal with every type of person. As I was reading this article I really took interest in the part explaining that it is okay to find another mentor or seek help from someone else. It is important to get the help that one needs, especially regarding academics.
    Having trust in your mentor is a huge deal because they are guiding you with every decision you need to make in life. I really enjoyed this article because it stressed the importance of having that trustful bond with your mentor. Without trust there is no way that the mentor will be able to help the person because there will not be that foundation of being open with each other and that is a huge part of the whole relationship. Another part of this article that really caught my attention is the “Contrast” section. I think a lot of people do not talk to certain people because of the differences that they might have. For example, a twenty-two-year-old women by not feel comfortable having a seventeen-year old girl as her mentor. I think that is wrong only because age is really just a number. This seventeen-year old girl may have a lot of motivation inside of her to help others and guide others into making good decisions and could possibly inspire the twenty-two-year-old. I think it is all about compatibility and who you can learn the most from.
    Having a mentor is really helpful for everyone and I strongly believe that everyone should seek a mentor at least once in their life, for guidance, education, and help in different aspects of life.

  4. Andrew Kenny February 1, 2019 at 8:32 pm #

    Having a mentor in today’s professional world is extremely important. With the ever changing job market and the evolution of technology, having someone to guide the way is reassuring. I agree with the statement about not having a mentor exactly like you is key. If someone thinks and acts exactly like you, you will never be able to open new doors and explore other schools of thought. Being diverse and having multiple perspectives allows people to be able to delegate, problem solve, and respect others. Being able to trust your mentor is almost like having an older sibling. I’m the oldest of four boys in my family and I attempt to be a solid role model for my brothers. I imagine in the workforce it is similar where a mentor takes in a new employee and attempts to get the best out of them. Being able to take advice and realizing there is always room for improvement is what makes a good worker. Getting pushed out of your comfort zone and expanding the way you approach different situations is paramount in the business world. I look forward to having someone in the professional world grooming me into a better version of myself and leading me to pursue my high goals.
    I had a mentor in my internship this past summer who was extremely helpful in showing me the ropes of the functions of golf tournament management. He was only a few years older than me, and coincidentally we shared the same first name, but we were very different. He knew I was a bit timid coming in to a new pressure environment, but knew that I was willing to put in hard work and grow as an employee. We would just converse about the job and he would tell me about his experiences when he was in my shoes as an intern in the same company. In fact, he was one of the main reasons I still would like to work in the golf industry. I trusted his intellect, and he respected my willingness to learn. Through his leadership, I was able to gain confidence and eventually begin to run major parts of the tournaments by myself. I attribute my growth and initiative to a lot of his teachings. I would be lucky to have someone like him when I enter the real world.

  5. Rayzan Alarashi February 1, 2019 at 9:21 pm #

    Prior to reading 4 Things To Look for In A Mentor by Ashira Prossack, I knew only of the importance that having a mentor can play in one’s success. Evidently, it is very clear to anyone who is just beginning their journey in college or the job force that having a mentor is extremely crucial, and if not the most important factor in one’s success. Not many are able to be put into a new environment and seemingly figure out everything they need to know on their own. This is where having a mentor comes into play. For example, if someone is very close to graduating college and earning their bachelor’s degree, they will likely have a mentor who pursued a similar career path or has been in their shoes at one point in time. A mentor is essentially someone who has experienced the same journey as yours and is very knowledgeable and experienced in that field, and willing to share that knowledge with you. Mentors will be able to help guide you in the right direction and even help you through the rough patches you may face. Finding the right mentor though is no easy task, but the things to look for in a mentor as noted by Ashira Prossack can make that process slightly less difficult. The main thing I would emphasize about when looking for a mentor is finding someone who has the right expertise and is also trustworthy. This is very crucial because you never want to have a mentor who is not experienced since that can have the possibility of leading you down the wrong path. Your mentor should be very knowledgeable on the journey you are going through so that they can direct you accordingly. Trust is also very important to have between your mentor because without trust you will not have the confidence to approach that person and tell them the things that may be going wrong. I am also currently in the process of finding a mentor for myself and reading this article has helped me take note of what I should be looking for. I can truthfully say that upon reading this article I feel much more confident about finding the right mentor for me.

  6. DawnJ February 9, 2019 at 9:29 pm #

    I have always loved the idea of a mentor but never had the opportunity to have one. A few years back at a company I worked for, having a mentor was encouraged and there was an entire process in HR dedicated to it. At the time, I was not in college and had no degree, so climbing the corporate ladder and having a mentor seemed impractical.

    Over the years I have met a small number of people who I thought would bring out the best in me, challenge me, and whom I admired for their integrity. As a middle-aged woman who has been in the workforce for more than 20 years, I could certainly mentor someone myself! But as a current student and career changer I would be thrilled to be able to learn from someone who could help make me successful in a new job and give me a new perspective.

    I think laying out the criteria I want a mentor to meet is not really practical; as the article states, it seems compatibility and contrast plays an equal role in having a successful mentor/mentee relationship.

    Another benefit to having a mentor is establishing a professional relationship with someone who not only mentors you, but who can be a solid source for others who might be interested in promoting you or for other professional endeavors. Wouldn’t it be nice to learn from someone and be recommended or referred by them!

  7. Aidan Nathaniel Clee February 10, 2019 at 5:57 pm #

    I think that having a mentor is one of the greatest things you can do for yourself as a person and not only does it help grow you into a new and better person but in turn you help your mentor learn a lot too. Finding someone that is compatible with you as a person is important so that you can really generate chemistry and get to know each other so when talking about experiences you can be guided in the right direction with your skills and thoughts in mind. Compatibility is a key part and in my personal experience I have had a mentor and I felt that it wasn’t a great experience only because me and my mentor weren’t really compatible and my mentor wasn’t really there to help me improve as a person but instead was there because they were required to be there for me and raise me up to meet a few certain requirement and when those requirements were fulfilled he just didn’t help much any longer. I know others who have mentors that have helped them through tough life times in work plenty and this has helped them become a better person and adapt to the challenges. When the compatibility factor is met that’s when the trust aspect the article talks about comes in. Without the compatibility the trust with the other person cant really be made because openness and honesty come with knowing the other person is like you. Trust and being open with the mentor is the best because if they know how you think they can adjust how they work with you around the way you think. They can guide you in better ways so that you can make better life decisions through your thoughts. Contrast is good for the relationship as the article states because everyone needs to be able to have a broad perspective on life. Knowing the way other people are brought up is important to understanding and relating to them. It may be uncomfortable at first for someone for instance to be younger but if they are then you have a new outlook on life where you can relate to the understanding of those brought up in the current times who might just know a little more about new life things then you. That knowledge doesn’t come without expertise of course because they cant teach and guide you if they haven’t gone through it themselves or had a very close experience with whatever the issue is.

  8. Madyson Y. February 15, 2019 at 1:02 am #

    After reading Ashira Prossack’s article on Forbes, I realize how important it is to have a mentor guiding you on your path to success. Prossack describes the four things everyone should look for when choosing a mentor: compatibility, contrast, expertise, and trust. Finding a mentor that you can generate chemistry with will change your experience and outlook on your desired profession. Having too much compatibility in this case has its pros and cons. One pro is that almost ninety-nine percent of the time the two of you will agree on the proper procedures to solving a problem. A con would be that just that; you are exactly like your mentor. What makes you stick out from everybody else? You would not gain any new knowledge or insight within your career. However, having too little compatibility is not entirely terrible. This theory leads into the second thing Prossack believes you should look for within a mentor: contrast.
    I agree with the author when she says your mentor should not be within your comfort zone. Whether they are younger than you or a different gender, be open to any option you are given. Having a mentor that provides a different perspective can help you excel further into your career. I believe this is the best way to learn and grow because if you diversify yourself and obtain other knowledge that you did not know, you will be set apart from the competition. Due to this, it is important to find a balance between chemistry and contrast. Too much or too little of either can cause problems within the relationship with your mentor.
    The next trait you should look for within a mentor is their level of expertise. Usually a person’s definition of expertise includes a person who has been in their field of study the longest or the highest executive in a company. In this case, choosing a person who fits that definition is not what Prossack wants you to do. She tells us instead that, “It’s about finding a mentor with the knowledge and expertise to help you on your journey”. Sure, the credentials of a long running, top company executive look great on paper, but what would be the benefit if they cannot teach you anything? Look for someone who has experienced it all, the good and bad, within your chosen field. That person will be the real teacher because they have been through the challenging times and know how to solve a problem, rather than pushing it off to the next guy down the line. The challenges they once faced could potentially be challenges you are currently experiencing. Because of this, it is important to trust your mentor in these trying times.
    Trust is the last factor Prossack states about mentors in her article. It is important to have someone to confide in and be able to tell things too on a professional level. However, both yourself and the mentor have to be able to trust each other in order to establish a real relationship and move forward in learning.

  9. Domenico Cirielli February 15, 2019 at 1:13 pm #

    One of the greatest perks of being part of the Business Leadership Program is having access to such a wide range of individuals to help you succeed on your career path. Ranging from the director of the Program, Michael Reuter, to personally selected leadership coaches within the Buccino Leadership Institute, it seems as though I have so many resources at my disposal. However, at times, I do think that I take these resources, especially mentoring, for granted – I feel as though this article helped me realize that. It helped me realize how influential a coach or a mentor can really be in one’s life.

    The biggest eye-opening experiences for me through mentoring so far has been my taking of an emotional intelligence test. The results were shocking at first, until I had a discussion with my leadership coach – and this is where I really see the values of expertise and trust, as mentioned in the article, come into play. Not only was I able to trust my mentor enough to explain to her my feelings without judgement, but also I was able to see the immense expertise she possessed, in terms of helping me better understand myself, my test results, and what I need to do moving forward to be an effective leader.

    I’m not going to lie, I was hesitant at first about really getting down into who I really am. I was scared, as most people are when they find out things about themselves that are not pleasing or that they were not aware of. But through mentoring I have come to the conclusion that it is absolutely necessary to face who you are – to yourself and to those around you.

    When I think of leadership, I think of an individual who understands themselves so well that they no longer have to worry about their own journey but rather can focus on helping better those around them succeed in their respective lives. Aspiring to be a leader hopefully in the finance field one day, I feel it necessary to come to an understanding of myself, and the way to come to such a concise understanding is through the process of mentoring.

    The two other values that the Forbes article mentions as something you should look for in a coach are: compatibility and contrast. I believe that not only are these traits that one should seek out in a mentor but also seek out in their professional lives as well. I would like to hope that one day we would all want to be in a leadership position, and with that comes the responsibility of others. In instances like that, it is necessary to be compatible with individuals in order to let them know that you understand where they are coming from and what warrants their actions and thoughts. But at the same time, it is equally as important to not always agree with them 100% of the time because that is how character is built. It is not built when we are afraid to disagree, but rather when we embrace differences in ideas and in thoughts. As a leader, one should want to be challenged, to be pushed outside of one’s comfort zone, and most importantly to fail. If we act, think, and converse the same way throughout our entire lives, we will never find ourselves in a position to advance professionally.

    Overall, I just wanted to reinforce the fact that I agree with the article in the sense that having mentoring as early on as possible in life really helps one chances of success as a leader in the future. A mentor can help you better understand yourself and how your presence affects others – and to me, that is the simple most important thing to be aware of as a leader. If one can learn to master this awareness, success will not only be achieved in one’s personal life, but also in his or her professional life as well.

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