What does a mentor do

3 qualities that make a good mentor

It was Odysseus who made his best friend the protector of his son. His job was to provide the boy with advice and assistance during Odysseus' absence. The friend's name: Mentor. Today this mentor has become a synonym and ideal of the wise and experienced advisor who can be found in almost all areas of training and profession.

The principle of a corporate mentoring relationship is simple: an experienced manager or specialist supports a new, as yet inexperienced colleague when they start their career. What is special about this is the close and personal contact between mentor and mentee. Practical tips, experience and specialist knowledge are passed on in regular discussions. The confidential level enables open communication and thus also individual feedback.

But: what makes a good mentor?

The design of the mentoring process is heavily dependent on the input from the mentor. According to the study "The Mentor - Role, Expectations, Reality" by Frank Edelkraut and Nele Graf, three essential prerequisites decide whether to become a mentor:

1) The mentor has to make a conscious decision to work with and support the offspring

Experienced employees and young professionals often sympathize with each other, which creates a mentor-mentee relationship: the older person usually recognizes himself in the younger one and encourages him by passing on useful information and experience from dealing with personalities and solving complex technical tasks.

2) The mentor shows willingness to develop himself further and to get to know new perspectives

Ideally, however, not only the mentee will benefit from the mentoring relationship. A mentor needs to learn to bring a lot of understanding, empathy, and compassion to the relationship in order to properly advise his mentee in a difficult situation, to intervene at the right time, and to find clever, encouraging words to build the mentee's self-confidence. If he succeeds, a dynamic relationship can develop in which both parties ultimately grow. Furthermore, he should be ready to adapt to his mentee and his wishes and needs.

3) The mentor knows that his mentoring activity also makes a positive contribution to the company's success

Internal knowledge of executives and specialists can be made accessible to young employees through mentoring programs, because the intensive exchange enables employees to actively manage knowledge. In this way, valuable and relevant knowledge of experienced employees in the company is preserved and consolidated. The intensive exchange between experienced and new employees also strengthens the company's internal network. In addition, the different perspectives of the mentors can help new employees to get a better overview of the goals of the organization, organizational relationships and corporate culture.

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