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Qualities of a Great Mentor

October 5, 2021

Every individual benefits from a mentor.

Some of the most successful and influential people of our time had mentors who challenged their thinking and pushed them to grow. Steve Jobs had Robert Friedland, Warren Buffet had Benjamin Graham, and Mark Zuckerburg had Donald Graham.

There are a lot of ways we can develop ourselves. However, it’s tough to come close to the road-tested wisdom offered by someone who’s walked the road before.

A great mentor not only lives to tell their own story, but can successfully guide others along the same path to help them avoid similar pit-falls & mistakes.

I’ve been so blessed to have mentors like that in my life. I wouldn’t be where I am today without having men like Vince Dooley, Ike Reighard, and Mike Linch, who have invested in me and encouraged me along the way. Recently I’ve been thrilled to learn from our Senior Pastor at church, Randy Cheek, who has great wisdom.

Their input has been invaluable, revolutionized my thinking, and pushed me beyond the boundaries of my own perceived limitations.

So, whether you are seeking a mentor or are looking to be one, what makes a mentor effective? I believe the top 3 qualities of a great mentor are:

1. Great Mentors Are Reputable

First and foremost, a mentor should have integrity that is above reproach. All of the success in a field can’t compensate for a lack of character. After you’ve covered that base, it’s valuable for a mentor to have success in the areas where you most need support. It might not be the exact same field, but it’s essential that a mentor has a great reputation for being an expert in their field, and that they have the ability to guide you in the right direction.

All of the success in a field can’t compensate for a lack of character.

2. Great Mentors Ask Great Questions

There’s a common misconception with mentors. Too many people believe that the mentee is the only one asking questions while the mentor spends hours spouting their wealth of wisdom. Experienced mentors will ask probing, open-ended questions. Their goal isn’t always to produce quick answers, but rather to make you think. Find someone who will not only share their insights, but who also cares enough to challenge you to think. Which brings me to the final point…

3. Great Mentors Challenge Your Perspective

I love it when a mentor uses their experience to remove roadblocks and unlock the potential in any given situation. Great mentors draw on past experiences and have the ability to see what you may not be able to see because you’re too close to it. A mentor can show you something that helps change your perspective and shift your way of thinking.

There’s plenty more I could add to this list, but each of these are essential.

Two questions for you:

  1. Have you (or do you currently) have a mentor who invested in your life?
  2. Who is someone that could provide wisdom for you? Don’t be afraid to ask. Make the call, send the email, and have the conversation! The worse thing they can tell you is no.

If you’re reading this and you feel like you’re ready to give back, I’d challenge you to choose to be a mentor to someone else. Take the time to invest in the next generation. You can continue to build your legacy by being a bridge builder for someone coming behind you.


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