7 Ways to Be the Best Mentor Ever


Mentoring can help leaders at any stage in their career develop valuable work, life and people skills, and grow their businesses, but it can be just as transformative for the mentors themselves. By connecting and coaching with a mentee, mentors can uncover deeper insights on life and leadership by embracing the role.

Related: 10 Ways to Find Your Ideal Mentor

So what makes a great mentor? We asked seven members of Young Presidents’ Organization to share their wisdom.

1. Create a safe space.

As with all partnerships, mentoring only succeeds if both parties work at it, but it helps if the mentor makes it easy for the mentee to drive the process and achieve objectives. The best mentors learn to listen, help the mentees think for themselves and create the space for this to happen.

—Gerhard Van Der Horst, CEO of Crossroads Distribution

2. Get to know your mentee.

A great mentor takes the time to learn about the mentee’s desires, skills and shortcomings to better help the mentee chart a path for success.

—Suzanne McKechnie Klahr, CEO of BUILD

3. Share your experience.

Mentorship is a one-on-one deeper forum experience where the shared experiences are the keys to a higher level of self-awareness.

—Themba Baloyi, executive director of Discovery

4. Be inquisitive.

Asking the right questions helps to focus on the real issues. A mentor needs to try and separate the noise from the key issues.

—Richard Day, national general manager of Pam Golding Properties

5. Create a life strategy.

When coaching people on their careers, I focus on six elements: passion, lifestyle, values, economics, skill and demand. Thinking strategically about each of these elements lets you create a framework for a solid career map.

—Debby Carreau, CEO and founder of Inspired HR

6. Be a storyteller.

Effective mentors do not offer specific advice unless requested. Instead, we relate relevant experiences of our own that may help the mentee evaluate his/her issue better.

—Ahmad Al-Sari, chairman of Malaz Capital

7. Park your ego.

By opening yourself up to being vulnerable and telling the stories of when you were not your own finest ambassador, you might just create the proper learning for your mentee.

—Jannie van Wyk, director of business development of OnTrack

Related: 5 Things Your Future Mentor Will Love You For

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YPO is the premier chief executive leadership organization in the world, representing a global community of leaders committed to the shared mission of becoming "Better Leaders Through Lifelong Learning and Idea Exchange." YPO today provides more than 24,000 members in more than 130 countries with access to extraordinary educational resources, alliances with leading institutions, and specialized networks designed to support their business, community and personal leadership. Altogether, YPO member-run companies employ more than 15 million people around the world and generate USD6 trillion in annual revenues. For more information, visit www.ypo.org.

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