Mentors play a unique role in the startup-building ecosystem. As individuals who have been down the path before, you possess critical insights that can help new founders navigate choppy waters, avoid obvious (to you) pitfalls, and help accelerate their businesses.
Framework curated by Meghann Coleman, Director at MindFrame Connect
What makes a good mentor?
Talk to a few different people and you will quickly find that everyone has varying definitions of what makes someone ‘effective.’ At MindFrame Connect, we’ve done extensive research on this – speaking to over 150 mentors and mentees, and it became clear that there is a recipe for success.
To begin, a mentor must be willing to give time and have good judgement. Beyond time and judgement, a mentor needs to develop and hone their craft, which includes a combination of the following:
What makes a good mentor?
Ability to connect on a personal level.
Willingness to create a safe, non-judgemental space built on trust, honesty, and warmth.
Openness to learn about mentees personal background and acknowledge the value of them providing different perspectives than your own (i.e., age, race, gender, sexuality, region).
Understanding of how your behaviour, background, and approach might impact a mentee.
Approach mentorship as a learning partnership.
Ability to actively listen.
Recognizing and accommodating different communication styles.
Ability to articulate clear expectations of the relationship.
Ability to ask open-ended, probing questions
Ability to provide constructive feedback.
Accepting and encouraging of regular feedback from mentee.
Guiding mentees to identify areas for improvement.
Encouraging mentees to set ambitious goals.
Encouraging regular reflection of performance.
Willingness to support mentee during periods of high-stress and crisis, as needed.
Willingness to share personal stories of not only success, but of failure and setbacks as well.
Ability to motivate and be a source of optimism.
Willingness to celebrate mentee’s successes.
Ability to role model risk taking and ‘thinking big’.
Willingness to open network to mentee.
Willingness to make connections and offer introductions.
Openness to maintain a relationship beyond the formal mentorship relationship.
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