Not all mentors come from leadership roles, and we firmly believe that anyone can be an effective mentor regardless of work history. But once you mentor, you will find that your mentees will look to you for guidance, advice, inspiration, and a good example. Sound a bit like leadership qualities to you? Well, that's because they are, and as a mentor, you'll need to have them. So what are the qualities of leadership that are most important and effective for mentorships? According to Harvard Business Review, there are "three languages of leadership":
Agility: Good leaders are flexible and able to adjust to the demands of a particular situation. Agile leadership is a valuable quality for a mentor because no two mentees will ever be the same. A mentor needs to adjust to the specific needs, goals, and learning styles of individual mentees. They need to continuously learn and grow, applying what they've learned as the mentorship progresses.
Authenticity: Trust is the hallmark of every strong relationship, and it is just as accurate of mentorship as it is of leadership. An authentic mentor is genuine, reliable, and trustworthy. Mentorship cannot exist without authenticity since a mentee must trust that a mentor's guidance is based on experience and regard for their well-being.
Empathy: A leader is most effective when he or she can identify with the struggles, hopes, and dreams of those they lead. This is especially applicable to mentorship since a mentee depends on you to see their particular situation, understand it, and guide them through it towards success. Thus, mentorship is a true partnership, with both participants sharing an appreciation for their contributions to the table: the mentor's knowledge and expertise and the mentee's aspirations and hard work.
These qualities represent three languages of leadership, which means that you can demonstrate them with the words you use. Think about how you converse with your mentees and the words you use in laying out your mentorship plans. Keep these three attributes in mind and continuously reinforce them in your mentorship communications. Even if you don't consider yourself a leader, you'll be speaking the language and transferring the benefits of quality leads to your mentees. If this post resonated with you, check with your organization to see whether you are part of the MentorCloud network. If not, sign up for a demo here! Our vision is to create a mentoring planet where true equality is achieved, and hard work is rewarded, but it's only possible with your participation.