Being a mentor is a tremendous and honorable responsibility. It is up to you not only to teach but also to learn. The first place to start learning is to identify the mentor qualities you have and the mentor qualities you need, then pursue instruction in the latter.
Consider the following mentor qualities to determine where there may be gaps in your current skill set.
Recognition of Learner Needs
Recognizing the learning style of the individual under your care—understanding their needs and capacities—is essential to their progress, as it aids the process of determining practical teaching methods for your student.
A good mentor acknowledges the needs and interests of their student. This can establish a solid foundation for the relationship that is being built. The student gains confidence in the mentor qualities of their teacher, promoting a healthy learning environment.
Ability to Identify Learning Opportunities
Once a certain level of knowledge about the learner has been gained, a mentor seeks out suitable learning opportunities for the student. Because these learning activities are tailor chosen for the student’s unique learning style, capabilities and interests, they can help maintain a level of engagement in the learning process and aid in the effectiveness of the mentoring program.
Knowledge of the Curriculum
A good mentor understands the student and the educational program the student is in. A firm grasp of curriculum topics and objectives is essential if a mentor is to be truly effective.
Time, Energy, and the Desire to Learn
There is a certain level of thoughtfulness and helpfulness required of mentors. If a mentor lacks interest in the student’s well-being and progress, the student can lose interest in the mentor and the mentor’s program. Therefore, it is important for a mentor to ensure that adequate time and energy are directed toward the student and the program. This demonstrates the mentor’s desire to help.
Leadership by Example
A mentor understands that it is never too late to learn. If the desire and passion for learning is present in a mentor, the student is likely to adopt the same attitude.
The mentor qualities listed above are a great stepping-stone to becoming a successful mentor. Do you see any gaps you need to fill in through extra training? Be the best mentor you can be, and keep in mind that it is never too late to learn!