There are a lot of misconceptions about the idea of what it takes to become a mentor. Perhaps one of the biggest barriers to mentoring is the idea that becoming a mentor is reserved for a select few. By a select few, I am speaking of those who have made it. Those who have the best-selling book or have successfully started and sold their own business for millions. Those who have speaking gigs lined up for miles no longer have to struggle to find work. These people have arrived and are exactly the people most think of when thinking of mentors. Don’t get me wrong, these people are important, but they are only a fraction of people who should call themselves mentors.
So Who Should Be a Mentor?
This is probably one of those loaded questions every speaker, mentor, and writer hates to answer on the spot. To answer this, maybe we should start with the question everyone is thinking but afraid to ask, “Should everyone be a mentor?” My short answer is ‘NO’, but not for the reasons you might suspect. First off, I believe that everyone has the potential to be a mentor. I stand against the notion that the role of the mentor is reserved for a select few. I believe that mentoring is more of a lifestyle than a destination to be reached.
3 Qualities Every Potential Mentor Should Possess
- A willingness to serve others
- A willingness to never stop learning
- A willingness to encourage others
A Willingness to Serve Others
Above everything else, the role of a mentor is a servant. A mentor puts their own agenda aside and strives to help their protégé accomplish their goal(s). The role of a mentor is not about the mentor. You heard that correctly. The role of the mentor is others-focused. A mentor is a generous giver of their time, talent, and resources. The role of a mentor varies greatly, and each situation will require different things, but if you boil everything down they should fall into one of these three things categories.
A Willingness to Never Stop Learning
A big part of the misconception around mentoring is the idea that a mentor already has everything figured out. This is largely what keeps people from becoming a mentor. The idea that I have not arrived or I do not know enough yet. This notion is completely false! A wise mentor realizes they will never have everything figured out. People all go through different seasons in their lives, but a realization for every great mentor is knowing we should never stop learning.
A Willingness to Encourage Others
Encouragement is perhaps the most underrated quality of any great mentor. Great encouragers are made; they are not simply born that way.