To be a mentor is an honor, and it comes with it great responsibility. It means you are being recognized for your wisdom and your expertise, and it obligates you to share those things with your mentee.

To be a mentee is also an honor. You're responsible for using what you learn for growth, and someday passing it along. From either direction, a good match is critical. The right mentor can change lives and inspire success.

Whether you're measuring yourself as a mentor or looking for someone to mentor you, here are 14 important things mentors need to be able to do:

1. Create a vision. A great mentor understands the power of having a vision so they can help their mentee develop a personal vision of what they want to achieve.

2. Set goals. A great mentor sets up goals with their mentee to identify what they want to achieve together. Together they draw up a roadmap so they can stay on track.

3. Be available and accessible. A great mentor is incredibly focused and respectful of the time you spend together. They give 100 percent of their undivided attention, and they remain accessible to keep building the relationship.

4. Listen well. A great mentor is a great listener. They make eye contact and focus on the person who is speaking; they hold back judgment and engage fully in the what is being said.

5. Take personal interest. A great mentor is committed to guiding their mentee toward success, so they take a personal interest and invest quality time in helping develop, strengthen, and cultivate the qualities and attributes that will lead to great achievements.

6. Ask--and answer--questions. A great mentor is all about questions--asking them and answering them. It's how they teach, and it's also how they identify their mentee's values, abilities and passions.

7. Give constructive feedback. Feedback is not always easy hear, but a great mentor knows how to offer constructive feedback. The secret is a focus on the intention of helping the mentee grow and succeed. They possess excellent communication skills and are able to adjust their communication to the personality style of the mentee in order for feedback to be taken well.

8. Add a fresh new perspective. A great mentor helps the mentee see a different outlook on different issues, problems or circumstances. A great mentor has clarity because of experience, and with the distance of not being immersed firsthand they can provide invaluable help.

9. Be willing to share knowledge and wisdom.A great mentor does not take the mentoring relationship lightly and understands that good mentoring requires time and commitment. A mentor will continually work with the mentee until they understand what they are trying to accomplish, letting them make mistakes if that's what it takes, but always being willing to share their wisdom.

10. Be patient. People learn at different paces. A Great mentor remembers what it was like when they were first starting out and patiently honor the mentee's pace with realistic expectations.

11. Set boundaries. A great mentor is accessible and available, but they also set healthy boundaries. They determine the format, time, and length of each meeting and what the mentee needs to do to prepare.

12. Show respect. A great mentor is someone whom the mentee can respect, and who returns that respect. It's a two-way street.

13. Have a positive mindset. A great mentor is both positive and passionate, and both qualities should be contagious.

14. Set a good example. A great mentor is always aware of the impact of their behavior. They know the importance of leading by example, and they understand the important of being a role model. Their personal habits are a reflection of their good character. Ideally, a mentee can learn a lot from their mentor simply by watching how they behave.

Mentoring is one of the most challenging and valuable relationships you can enter into, from either side. Those who have benefited from mentorship are often the most enthusiastic about passing the gift along, but anyone can do it. Who could you learn from? Who could learn from you?

Published on: May 20, 2016
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