Become a Better Leader By MentoringMentoring is an essential skill every leader should strive to achieve. In addition to managing and motivating people, it's also important you help others learn, grow, and become more effective in their jobs.

Doing this through a formal mentoring relationship is ideal.

You can't just walk up to someone and say "Let me mentor you." So how and where do you begin?

Personal connections and referrals may be a good place to start. Tell your colleagues and your friends you're interested in becoming a mentor.

More formal ways to connect with potential mentees can be done through partnership organizations, professional networks, or community organizations.

Many studies have shown individuals have a stronger chance of being successful if they have good mentors. And, contrary to popular belief, the new business generation WANTS guidance. Harvard Business Review featured an article “Mentoring Millenials” stressing this point.

How to Become a Better Leader By Mentoring

While not every leader may want to be a mentor, there are key qualities to consider for those who are interested in becoming one:

Authentic – You are real and practice what you preach. A good mentor will not only tell their mentee the best approach, but uses (or has used) the approach themselves. The purpose of working with a mentor is to learn from their experiences, which often includes mistakes as well as successes.

Available - The amount of time required for mentoring depends on the individuals involved, but regardless, it does require regular conversations and meetings. This is something that needs to be discussed at the beginning with your mentee, but most mentor relationships can only work if both parties are committed to the frequency of contact.

Learner – Any good mentor should know they don't know everything there is to know in any given field today, but they continue to learn and share what they are discovering. If you are someone who loves learning and teaching, then mentorship may be just the thing for you.

In addition to these qualities, I've come up with a few questions to ask yourself before you decide to be a mentor.

  • Do you enjoy encouraging and motivating others?
  • Are you comfortable asking challenging questions?
  • Do you want to contribute to other people's growth and success?
  • How will mentoring contribute toward your own career goals?
  • How will mentoring add to your sense of contribution and community?
  • What type of person do you ideally want to mentor? Can you describe the professional and personal qualities of this person? Do you want someone from the same profession or the same career path?

We all have had people in our careers who have helped us grow, or maybe we wish that we had someone like that. Why not be that person for someone?