The 5 Skills You Need as a Mentor

Listed below are 5 skills you need as a good mentor and how you can improve them.

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Most people believe that being a mentor is all about the experience they have, but it’s much more than that. Mentors provide motivation, expertise, and support to their mentees, helping them develop both personally and professionally. You might be wondering what it takes to be a good mentor, if it isn't simply a matter of experience. Simply put, the skills you have, make the difference between an average mentor and a great one.

Mentoring skills are extremely significant because as you work through the challenges with your mentee, you will need to also effectively set goals, promote professional growth, communicate, support and maintain a great relationship that allows the mentee to thrive.

Listed below are 5 skills you NEED to be a good mentor and how you can improve them:

Empathy Skills

Empathy skills are all about being mindful of the feelings and emotions of the people you surround yourself with. These skills are considered to be the key components of emotional intelligence. Empathy is different from sympathy because instead of feeling for a person, you feel with them. It’s all about putting yourself in the shoes of your mentee and is a vital skill every mentor should process.

As a mentor, you must understand your mentee's concerns and challenges. When you understand the feelings and emotions of the mentee, you will be able to help your mentee form solutions and set achievable goals. Having empathy also creates a more trusting relationship because your mentee will feel more heard, which is a very essential element in ensuring an effective and trusting mentoring relationship.

Leadership Skills

Leadership skills have been linked to increased productivity, better relationships and improved communication. Having good leadership skills as a mentor allows you to fully support the mentee on their professional development journey.

It can’t be denied that having good leadership skills makes you a better mentor, being able to motivate your mentee and solve important problems. The mentee usually looks up to their mentor as a source of inspiration because they are looking to achieve similar success. This builds a level of trust and respect. Good leaders get results, which is what the mentee is actively searching for.

Feedback Skills

As a mentor, it’s your responsibility to provide constructive feedback, in a respectful but truthful way. Providing feedback is a skill that many people consider to be their weakness, but something incredibly important for those acting as a mentor. When giving feedback as a mentor, you need to give it in a way that is helpful to the person you are giving it to, without knocking their confidence.

Feedback is critical, as it allows you to provide the mentee with strategies and advice to help them achieve their goals and overcome their challenges. When you provide feedback effectively, it can help motivate the mentee and help them keep on track to achieving their objectives. Everyone benefits from feedback, even the most skilled professionals because everyone has strengths and weaknesses. This is why it's crucial for improvement and development.

The use of feedback can be used as a way to help your mentor step outside their comfort zone, so they face new opportunities and gain new experiences that will help them in their professional life.

Problem-Solving Skills

Mentees seek out a mentor to help them overcome challenges they face either in their professional or personal life, that’s why as a mentor problem-solving skills are vital. Being proficient in problem-solving means you can handle anything that is thrown your way. Mentoring relationships aren't always straightforward, sometimes many challenges can occur, that's why it's important to be a great problem solver as a mentor.

From analysing the information given to you by your mentee, to providing a different perspective on the situations they face, you need to support and advise your mentee on the solutions to their issues. This helps them achieve their goals by developing new approaches.

Communication Skills

When it comes to communication skills, it’s not just one skill as communication can be broken down into 5 sections such as verbal, non-verbal, written, active listening, and visual communication.

Communication skills are significant in all aspects of life and are considered a must when it comes to being an effective mentor. From helping your mentee set goals to hosting mentoring sessions, communication is a key skill needed to ensure the mentoring relationship is a success. Whether you're in a virtual or face-to-face relationship, these skills are important.

As a mentor, you’ll often find yourself in situations with your mentee where you have to effectively listen to their problems, motivate them or when providing them with feedback.

How to Improve Your Skills

It takes time and practice to build skills, so don't let not having them deter you from becoming a mentor. Instead, see it as an opportunity for self-improvement. Whether you already have these skills and want to keep them sharp, or you realise there are areas where you could improve, there are always ways to enhance your skill set and become a better mentor. For example, you could:

• If you want to improve your skills, you need to fully understand your strengths and weaknesses. Evaluate the skills you have and identify areas for improvement that you can work on.

• Ask someone you know to evaluate your skills, helping you identify areas of improvement. For example, your weakness may be written communication, which could be identified by having someone you trust to evaluate your skills.

• Just because you’re a mentor, doesn’t mean you can’t find one. If you have professional growth objectives in mind, mentors are a great way to improve your skill set and help you achieve them.

• Whilst courses can often be expensive, they are a great investment because the skills needed for mentoring are skills that are vital for professional growth. There are many courses available to help individuals improve their skills.

• Find opportunities to practise your skills. As mentioned, skills take time and practice, so it’s a great idea to seek out opportunities to practise your desired skills. For example, if you’re someone who struggles with verbal communication, ask people you know if you can practise with them.

Final Thoughts

Being a mentor is an incredibly rewarding and fulfilling experience, something that we should all do at least once in our lifetime. Improving your mentoring skills will not only benefit your mentee and the relationship you have, but can be transferred to other aspects of your life.

If you want to learn more about mentoring, or you have the skills needed to become a great mentor, then make sure to check out PushFar today. We’re the world’s leading mentoring and career progression platform, with over 75,000 professionals looking to be a mentor, mentees or both.

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