Good Mentor vs Bad Mentor

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When you think of the word “mentor,” what are some of the things that come to your mind? For many, it means coach, advisor, instructor and more! Some may even believe that it means you’re attentive and give good advice, but it goes way beyond that. There’s actually a thin line between what could make you a good mentor versus a bad one. Here are some tips to make sure you don’t end up on the wrong side of that line!


Being a good mentor is a lot harder than it sounds. Many people believe that they can just take on a role like that and fit their mentee into their busy schedule. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. You have to have time for your mentee to give them the support and guidance that they need. You also have to be willing to go the extra mile. And most importantly, you have to be a genuine, positive, and committed listener to do the job right.


In any relationship, it can be a turn off when someone senses that the other person is being phony. As a mentor, that is the last place you want to be because then you won’t even have the interest or respect of your mentee. Instead, genuinely take interest in the things that matter to them. Find mentees who share similar values and have aspirations to be in the career field you have expertise in. This way the relationship is natural and in return can be beneficial for both parties.


Ever been around someone who was moody and grumpy all of the time? It’s crazy how contagious moods can be and most people prefer to be around those who put them in a happier mood. This goes for mentees too. No one wants to get advised on life and career decisions by someone who is negative about everything.

This applies to being overly critical of your mentees as well. Helpful feedback is necessary, but you never want to overdo it. If you’re bashing your mentee more than you’re helping them, then maybe you should change your strategy.


There’s only so many “Sorry, I can’t make it” messages that a mentee can receive before they feel that you don’t truly care about them. This goes back to step one “Be Genuine” because if you truly care you would do your best to not let your mentee down. Now, of course, things happen from time to time, but if you’re consistently flaking then there’s an issue. If your negligent actions are speaking to your mentee more than you are, then they’re saying you don’t care.

To combat the commitment issue, don’t spread yourself too thin and over-commit yourself. You may think you’re a phenomenal multi-tasker but you just can’t juggle human beings. Take things one step at a time and make sure you have room in your life to be a good mentor.


This has to be one of the most difficult things to do. Most of the time we think that we are listening, but in reality, we’re more focused on our response. As a mentor, that’s the last thing you want to do. It’s important to listen to what you’re mentee is saying and let them talk. It’ll help you guide them into the right direction without making decisions for them.

The responsibility of being a good mentor is more than most people realize, but it’s also worth it. You can truly help make an impact on someone’s life and with these tips, you can make sure it’s in a good way! If you want to learn more about being a good mentor, then click here!

Written by Jaydah Jacobs