When Australian cricket coach Justin Langer needed someone to mentor his players for the 2019 Ashes series in England, he turned to his old teammate, Aussie cricket legend Steve Waugh. As the last test captain to retain an Ashes series in England, there was no one better suited to mentor Langer’s team.
The quality of a mentor can often be the difference between a mentee’s success and failure. There’s little doubt that Steve Waugh’s remarkable achievements against England in England rubbed off as Australia retained the Ashes on English soil for the first time in 18 years.
A good mentor hasn’t just been there and done that, they’ve been there and done that better than most. Having a mentor is extremely valuable, particularly if you’re starting out in business or want to take that next step. Choosing a mentor may be the most important decision you’ll ever make in your career. Here are four qualities you should look out for in a mentor:
Easy to Get on With
First and foremost, you should get on with your mentor. If you don’t like your mentor or your mentor doesn’t think much of you, it’s never going to work. There shouldn’t just be mutual respect between you and your mentor, you should also enjoy spending time with each other. If your mentor feels like it’s a chore to help you or that they’d much rather do something else, they’re not right for you.
Proven Track Record
Just as the current Australia cricket team had a multiple Ashes series winner to mentor them, you too need a mentor who has excelled in their career. If they’ve tried and failed to do what you’re aspiring to do or to be, then they can only teach you so much. It’s difficult for a mentor to inspire their mentee if they’ve a mediocre track record. For the mentor-mentee relationship to be successful, the mentee should aspire to emulate their mentor.
Willing to Share
A good mentor shouldn’t just be willing to share their wisdom with you, they should be keen to pass it on. Remember, they were where you are now. They should have a pretty good idea of what you know and what you don’t. A good mentor shouldn’t be reticent when it comes to sharing their knowledge with you. They shouldn’t just be prepared to teach you about what you should do next, they should look forward to it.
One of the main responsibilities of a mentor is to provide feedback. If you’re just starting out in business, it’s likely that you’ll make some mistakes – it’s par for the course. If you haven’t realised that you’ve made mistakes, a good mentor will point them out to you. A mentor shouldn’t just be one of your biggest advocates, they should also be one of your most honest critics. A mentor should be prepared to criticise their mentee’s work. However, how they criticise it matters. A good mentor will provide you with constructive criticism. A good mentor will always help you to learn from your mistakes.
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