Four Characteristics of Memorable Mentors

I have been blessed with many great mentors throughout my career, especially recently. Some of these were formal mentors, while others were informal mentors such as colleagues, bosses or friends. Either way, it is great to have someone you can trust and share your craziest ideas and biggest fears with.

After you’ve spoken with a mentor, you should feel as though you can do anything and be motivated to take action. My most memorable mentors still resonate within me today and I can feel their impact in my every day life.

Like yourself, I am finding myself in more situations where I am becoming a mentor and coach to others. This has me thinking: what is the best way to develop into a mentor worthy of people’s time and trust? What makes a mentor memorable?

I believe there are foundational characteristics that every mentor possesses such as Integrity, Experience, Empathy, Trustworthiness, and being a Good Listener. But I think there is more to it…

Based on my experience with those who have made a difference in my life, here are four traits I have noticed (and are also traits I am working to develop):

Potential Discoverer. You must be able to see the possibilities in people. It is easy to see people where they are today and either be skeptical of their potential or dismiss them altogether. My two recent mentors saw things in me I would never imagined on my own. Mentors aren’t privy to the “doubting inner voice” holding us back. Instead they see our potential and remove our self-doubt. The memorable mentor help visualize and encourage a clear picture of what we can become.

Path Illuminator. You must also illuminate a path for people to get there. This is more than just being an encourager. The memorable mentor holds us accountable by insuring incremental progress and that we are “doing the work.”

People Connector. You must be able to connect people with other people who can make a difference. I am not a natural networker so this is always a focus area for me. The memorable mentor goes out of their way to bring people and partners into your life who can help realize your full potential.

Skill Multiplier. You must be able to take the skills someone has and build on it. We often focus on developing weakness and while this is important, the memorable mentor can see the raw talent someone has and magnify the impact of those skills.

Quite honestly, the content and sketches on this blog would not exist without the prodding and encouragement from two gentlemen I would consider memorable mentors. Thanks @kaynegrau and @SAlhir!

Anyone have any great mentor stories? What made them so memorable? Would love to hear your thoughts!



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