How to be a Mentor
Mentorship is a personal developmental relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person. However, true mentoring is more than just answering occasional questions or providing ad hoc help. It is about an ongoing relationship of learning, dialogue, and challenge.
A mentor provides advice in context with the best interests of the mentee in mind.
Mentoring has existed since ancient times and there are differing techniques and utilizations such as youth mentoring and business mentoring.
 Mentoring Best Practices
 Mentor functions, roles and techniques
The mentor focuses on the mentee's total development with a variety of roles:
- Teaches the mentoree about a specific issue
- Coaches and challenges the mentoree on a particular skill, but don't do their job for them
- Facilitates the mentoree’s growth by sharing resources and networks
- Challenges the mentoree to move beyond his or her comfort zone
- Creates a safe learning environment for taking risks
- Mentors assist mentees by asking questions based on their experience and expertise and encourage the menthe to come up with their own answers.
- Mentors provide a safe sounding board and a reality check for ideas and decisions.
 Multiple mentors
Multiple mentors is a good idea and works to match different challenges at different stages in life and work
 Mentors throughout life
Mentors work for a person of any age at any stage of career
 Finding mentors
- Many organizations have formal or informal mentoring programs.
- Build a cadre of people you can turn to for advice when you need it
 Related Best Practices
 Other Resources
- Wikipedia Mentorshippage provides a good general background and history on mentorship. It also reviews the different types and uses of mentorship and its application in different countries and cultures.
- “Demistifiying Mentoring”, by Amy Gallo at the Harvard Business Review Blog Network covers the myths, principles and case studies in the business setting.
- “Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring” is a manual on developing and implementing a mentoring program from the National Mentoring Partnership focused on youth mentorship programs.
- “10 Tips for Starting a Successful Mentoring Program” is an article by the company Chronus that provides Mentoring and Talent Development solutions. Other articles on Mentoring cases studies are available on their website.
- “Mentorship Best Practices” by Founders Corp, a entrepreneurial website supporting mentorship.
The author of this article is Terry Gardiner.
Terry Gardiner is the founder and President of Silver Lining Seafoods and NorQuest Seafoods - a medium size Alaska seafood processing companies; and currently Board member of the Anvil Corporation, an employee owned company specializing in oil and gas engineering.
His co-operative experiences include member director of the Commercial Fishermen Co-operative association; creation of legislation for the Alaska Commercial Fishing and Agriculture Bank; and advisor to the US Dept of Health and Social Services for the state Health CO-OPs.
Terry served ten years as a member of the Alaska House of Representatives -several legislative committee chairmanships, Speaker of the House, Chairman of the Alaska Criminal Code Commission and board member on various state and federal boards and commissions.
Terry authored the leadership book, "Six-Word Lessons to Build Effective Leaders: 100 Lessons to Equip Your People to Create Winning Organizations".