Most people start their professional careers at the foot of a ladder before working their way to the top. This is a step by step process which often requires a transition period to adapt and be successful in that new role. But change is not always easy to deal with. And if you were able to become successful in your career it was probably because you could rely on a mentor for advice. Now it is your turn to share your experience and help others through this difficult transition period. But you might be wondering, “What does being a good mentor look like?” 

Qualities of a good mentor
  1. Relevant expertise, and the ability and willingness to communicate

Being a good mentor means you can share your experience with your mentee, but that can’t be done if you don’t have relevant background in that field. The more experience and knowledge you have gathered in a specific field, the more equipped you will be to share that with your mentee.

However, it is one thing to have information and another to have the willingness and ability to effectively communicate that information. Your desire to share your experience in a way that will make sense will make the difference.

  1. Ability to know your mentee as a person

Being an expert in a certain field is great. But what works for one person might not work for another person. Therefore, it is important to know your mentee as a person in order to be able to share your experience in a more inefficient and efficient manner.

Knowing your mentee personally will help you understand who they are as a person, know what motivates them, their strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, etc. Being a good listener will help you accomplish this.

  1. Knowing when to give advice and allowing your mentee to make decisions

The fact that you have relevant expertise might tempt you to always take the wheel while your mentee takes the back seat. However, it is worth noting that a good mentor-mentee relationship involves you helping your mentee learn and acquire experience in their new role, not doing it for them.

This requires knowing when to give advice and when to allow your mentee to make decisions on their own. A good way to do that would be to act like a driving instructor who takes the passenger’s seat and provides insight when necessary allowing the mentee to be in control of the wheel. You still have access to the emergency brakes if your mentee goes completely off-track.

Just in case you are wondering, “Why even bother being someone’s mentor?”, “Is there anything I can gain from this?” Yes!

Benefits of Being a Mentor

1. Enjoy personal satisfaction knowing that you are making a huge difference in someone’s life by contributing to the person’s success.

“She was there for me always, guiding me through some of the most important years of my life. Mentors are important, and I don’t think anybody makes it in the world without some form of mentorship.” This was Oprah Winfrey talking about Maya Angelou.
2. Teaching a mentee helps you to be better at your work.
3. Sharing your experience with another person helps enhance your leadership skills.
4. It sharpens your listening skills which will come in handy in all your social relationships.
5. You increase your self-worth and self-confidence when you share your experience with your mentee.
6. It is also an opportunity for you to learn something new from your mentee.
7. It expands your professional network.

It is worth noting that mentorship is a process, so continually improving your skills will continually improve your capabilities. Actively working to expand your mentoring competencies will help you provide valuable feedback and share your experience in a way that will help your mentee thrive in their career and their life.

Categories: Learning


Adaego M. Azi · March 28, 2020 at 7:14 pm

duppydomTEAM— I’m not sure, would parents count as mentors, or does the mentor have to be someone outside of your family? Regardless, I would have to say my parents are really the only significant mentors in my life so far. I also read the article, “5 reasons why you need a mentor” and all of those reasons are reasons why a child need parents. One day I hope someone would benefit from me being their mentor, but I think I need some more life experience first. Thank you, duppydom.

    duppydomTEAM · March 29, 2020 at 9:35 pm

    Adaego, thank you very much for your questions. Yes, parents definitely count as mentors. Parents are our first and probably most important mentors in our lives. For much of our life, parents coach, motive, challenge, protect and advise us 👨‍👩‍👦

      Adaego M. Azi · March 30, 2020 at 8:46 pm

      Thank you.

    S. Jakes · March 30, 2020 at 2:55 am


Lisa Steffler · March 28, 2020 at 10:40 pm

duppydomTEAM – I think that once you have a few decades under your belt you end up being a mentor. One or two people will come to you looking for advice and then you sort of adopt them and they come to you regularly. I have never really thought about mentoring skills, I sort of give advice based on what I have learned in life and what has worked for me. “Knowing when to give advice and allowing your mentee to make decisions” – this is something that is crucial, you simply want to give advice, not to hold their hand and walk them through it. This is a very informative article and it’s nice to see that even the greats like Oprah Winfrey have/had a mentor even at the height of her success.

    duppydomTEAM · March 29, 2020 at 9:34 pm

    Thank you, Lisa. Your experience is similar to most. People come to us on a regular basis for advice and the advice we offer is based on lessons we have learned in life. We often don’t think of our help as mentoring, but it is. Going forward, think about all the things you say and do, when aiding someone in your life on a regular basis 👫 – now you can put a label on it.

      Adaego M. Azi · March 30, 2020 at 8:48 pm


Nadine Wu · March 29, 2020 at 3:05 am

I am not a mentor for anyone, but I have a mentor – it’s my MIS prof from college. I worked for him for two years while I was in college. Since I graduated, we email at least one a month and meet for lunch a few times a year. I cannot tell you how much he has helped me with a million different things. My mom once asked if we were friends – can you be friends with your mentor? I don’t think so. I still feel nervous around him and he once told me to call him by his first name, but I can’t – I still call him Dr. – how weird would it be calling him by his first name? It never occurred to me that there were benefits to being a mentor. The next time we speak, I will ask him.

    duppydomTEAM · March 29, 2020 at 9:33 pm

    Nadine – thank you very much for your insightful comments. We usually have some reverence for those we call our mentors – this is probably the main reason we sought their council in the first place. And if our mentor is a former teacher 👩‍🏫 (people we normally hold in high regard), it becomes even more difficult to envision them in any other way (e.g., a friend).

      Adaego M. Azi · March 30, 2020 at 8:49 pm


    S. Jakes · March 30, 2020 at 2:56 am


    Adaego M. Azi · March 30, 2020 at 8:49 pm


Amie Warwick · March 29, 2020 at 3:41 am

duppydom – this is an interesting article, something I have never thought about before. At this point in my life I am nobody’s mentor. Does that say something about me? I listened to Anthony Bourdain on – damn (as my husband would say)! If I was a mentor my approach would be very different, I don’t think you have to manipulate and control very aspect of someone to be a good mentor – and that would not work with me, if that was how a mentor treated me.

    duppydomTEAM · March 29, 2020 at 9:32 pm

    Amie – thank you for your comments. Regardless of our position in life or our age, we are mentors – we just don’t think of our words and behaviors as mentoring (or we have never heard the term, “mentoring”). Parents mentor their children, older siblings mentor younger siblings, friends mentor friends, etc. It could even be the case that, unbeknownst to you, because of how you live your life, someone is modelling their life after you (i.e., mentoring from a distance). Your comments about Anthony Bourdain speaks directly to mentoring style. There is much debate about what works best – bullying 📣 vs. being kind and gently🎈. This debate highlights the importance of the mentor truly knowing the mentee as a person and using this knowledge in deciding the best approach.

    S. Jakes · March 30, 2020 at 2:57 am

    Love Tony Bourdain ❤❤

    Adaego M. Azi · March 30, 2020 at 8:51 pm


Amara Kone · March 29, 2020 at 5:08 pm

I don’t think mentorship is something most people think about or learn about. We only see the importance of having one when we do. Of the 5 reasons why we need a mentor; I think the fact that a mentor challenges, makes it the most important one. Most of us think we should do things on our own if we want to be successful in life, and sometimes we think what we have done is good enough. Someone who is successful in life (a mentor), will know to push us further. Case in point, Oprah Winfrey seeking the advice of mentors.

    duppydomTEAM · March 29, 2020 at 9:30 pm

    Amara – thank you very much for your comments. While some people actively seek mentors, many of us do not. You are correct in alluding to the fact that many of us are guided by the idea of being “self-made”. But what a lot of people don’t know is that many of the most successful people in the world have mentors – “…Steve Jobs had Bill Campbell as a mentor; Mark Zuckerberg had Steve Jobs; Bill Gates had Warren Buffett…”. And most of these great leaders also have mentees, and they are constantly perfecting their mentoring skills 👨‍🎓

      Adaego M. Azi · March 30, 2020 at 8:52 pm


    Bruce Peters · March 30, 2020 at 3:52 am


S. Jakes · March 30, 2020 at 2:53 am

duppydomTEAM—thank you for writing this article. I do have a mentor. She is a teacher I met when I first started teaching. Her advice has been invaluable over the years, but sometimes I think she must be sick of me coming to her with all my problems. One of the best things I like about her, is that she has been through it all and I can see through her, the kind of career I want. I see a lot of the qualities in her that are mentioned in the article. Also, I listened to the Tony Bourdain podcast; it was so good hearing his voice. I miss him, I still watch his reruns. Thank you duppydomTEAM 👏

    duppydomTEAM · March 30, 2020 at 4:18 pm

    S. Jakes – thank you. Your comments are always welcome. We are happy that you have a mentor and are gaining from the benefits. Anthony Bourdain was a great chef 👨‍🍳 and quite the character. The world still misses him. We are grateful that he left this podcast about his mentors, for all to enjoy.

      Adaego M. Azi · March 30, 2020 at 8:54 pm


    Adaego M. Azi · March 30, 2020 at 8:53 pm


Bruce Peters · March 30, 2020 at 3:56 am

I have been mentoring a few people for a number of years now, so this article really caught my eye. First, I agree that mentoring is a skill that a mentor must keep working on – particularly communication skills. Sometimes, when I give advice, I wonder if I did a good job making my point. I also agree that mentoring is one of the most exhilarating things that I do as part of my job. The idea that someone in a junior position welcomes your opinion and you can help shape their future, is beyond rewarding.

    duppydomTEAM · March 30, 2020 at 4:18 pm

    Bruce, thank you for reading the article and sharing your comments. If more people knew the benefits of mentoring, more people would impart their wisdom 👨‍🏫 to a mentee. And the fact that, “teaching a mentee helps you to be better at your work”, make it a win-win proposition.

      Adaego M. Azi · March 30, 2020 at 8:55 pm


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