10 Mindsets of Great Mentors

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —June 7, 2010
Filed in Leadership Posts

Last month Bob Sutton wrote a post listing the important mindsets of a good manager. It got me thinking about the important mindsets for a good mentor. Here’s my top 10.

  1. You really care about the person you’re mentoring. You want them to succeed.
  2. You’re curious and intensely interested in them as a person
  3. You’re not competing with them
  4. You don’t have all the answers and know you don’t need to
  5. They can solve many of their own issues
  6. Your the facilitator, not the expert
  7. In most cases there’s no single right answer
  8. It’s better to engage in dialogue than lecture
  9. A good question is often better than a good answer
  10. Trust is essential. It takes time and effort to build and can evaporate in an instance. TRUST = (credibility + reliability + intimacy) / self interest

What mindsets would you add?

Thanks to Christian Dahmen for a excellent conversation last week that helped me write this list.

About  Shawn Callahan

Shawn, author of Putting Stories to Work, is one of the world's leading business storytelling consultants. He helps executive teams find and tell the story of their strategy. When he is not working on strategy communication, Shawn is helping leaders find and tell business stories to engage, to influence and to inspire. Shawn works with Global 1000 companies including Shell, IBM, SAP, Bayer, Microsoft & Danone. Connect with Shawn on:

2 Responses to “10 Mindsets of Great Mentors”

  1. Janice Friesen Says:

    Thanks, These are some helpful pointers.

  2. Cynthia Kurtz Says:

    Great list, Shawn. I’ve been doing a lot of mentoring and one tip I would add is that I always find a way to cross-mentor. I find something the mentoree knows about that I don’t, and ask them to mentor me in it.
    I find this checks any tendencies to lecture or feel self-important, because my learning is just as important as theirs. There is ALWAYS something I can learn. One of my mantras is that every person in the world can learn something from me (that includes presidents) and I can learn something from every person in the world (that includes the poorest of the poor).
    In practice, I try to ask for some advice in every conversation, to keep reminding both of us of our mutual aid society. I’d put your number 6 as the most important because it’s the easiest to forget (in either direction). Number 9 is also useful and hard to keep in mind.

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