This week we finish up our interview with Jeff Meyers on mentoring, based on his book Passing the Baton.
Let’s consider the criteria for being a good mentor; and conversely how to choose a mentor.
1. Be a morally good person. You wouldn’t want your child mentored by someone who is not. No matter how much they might know about a subject matter. Keep the child safe. That means some people should not be mentors. That means other people should move away from the people mentoring them.
2. Know what you are talking about. Don’t mentor people on how to start business if you haven’t successfully started a few, etc. Don’t mentor something unless you have a good result to show for what you have done. That means before you pick a mentor, check out that they do actually know something, and have a good result, not just want a good result in terms of having power over you or getting your money.
3. Listen to your mentee so you can start talking about something relevant to them. Conversely, don’t be controlled by a person who is not interested in your welfare.
4. Give your stories and rarely solve their problems. Conversely, take responsibility for your own growth. It is up to you to act and to apply.
5. Care about your mentee. Conversely, respect your mentor — their time, their reputation, and their advice.
6. Stick with it. Work through difficulties.
7. If your mentee is disrespectful or lazy, and you are ending the relationship for this reason, tell them so clearly. If your mentor is evil, harmful, ignorant, and mostly self-serving in the relationship, leave immediately. As a mentee, it is more necessary for you to be safe than it is for you to confront or teach. A quiet exit is acceptable on your part, since your mentor would have more power.