How to Know a Good Mentor From a Bad Mentor

Last week Tristan Kromer, on Twitter, suggested that I write about how someone can know a “good mentor” from “a bad mentor.” I had never considered this question and I have typically always found a way to learn from a mentor even if all I learned was what NOT to do. So, I reached out to a few industry leaders to crowd-source an answer.

Here is what they had to say:

“A good mentor is truly interested in your career. They may be there for advice and to socialize, but more important, they should be in a position to advance your career when possible. A mentor can insure that you are considered for important opportunities for advancement or visibility within your field of interest. A good mentor is someone who takes care of you.”

– Paul Gumbinner, President of Gumbinner Company and blogger

“Good mentors are generous with time and wisdom. Bad mentors offer themselves up and subsequently forget to make time for you. Good mentors love mentoring to see others grow. Bad mentors love mentoring because it makes them look good. Good mentors always pick up the check at lunch. Bad mentors don’t even think to invite you.”

Stephanie Smirnov, CEO of DeVries PR

“A good mentor lets the student do all the work.”

Jeff Goins

“Bad: You ask questions, they give great advice. Good: You ask questions, they ask better questions.”

Tristan Kromer

“Good mentors differ from bad mentors in three ways…they…

1) Listen to learn

2) Guide to grow

3) Elevate and empower”

Laura Pesin, Executive Vice President at DeVries PR

“A bad mentor tells you what he would do. A good mentor gives you ideas, and allows you to formulate your own plan.”

Peter Shankman

“Isn’t a mentor by definition good? There are good bosses and bad bosses, but hard to be a bad mentor. Yes? A good mentor offers support and encouragement as well as wisdom. He’s excited for your opportunities and successes. And he’s willing to stand in the background and let the spotlight shine on you. Most importantly, he leaves you plenty of room to figure out your own way of doing things rather than imposing his way as the only way.”

Edward Boches, Chief Innovation Officer at Mullen

“A good mentor doesn’t just care about you because they see themselves in you — they care because they see what’s unique in you.”

Adrianna Giuliani, SVP, Creative & Strategic Planning at DeVries PR

“Look for a person who guides with wisdom and won’t let you fail — someone who always tells you the hard truth in gentle ways.”

Liz Strauss

“In my experience, there are 3 things that differentiate good mentors from bad ones. The good ones are accessible, brutally honest, and genuinely care.”

Andy Amendola, Director of Digital Strategy at DeVries PR

“Finally remember that paying for a mentor is not heresy. Indeed, many a fine coach or consultant offers a paid mentorship program to help get you to where you need to be. If an influencer really wants to help, but doesn’t have the bandwidth, why shouldn’t they offer such a service to fans they can support?”

Claire Diaz Ortiz, Head of Social Innovation at Twitter

“Someone who is heavily invested in the growth of their mentee, who legitimately wants them to succeed and will impart all the wisdom they spent years learning onto their mentee in hopes that she won’t make the same mistakes.”

Amy Schoenberger, Social Media Manager at DeVries PR

Tell me in the comments, how can you tell a good mentor from a bad mentor? Does anyone have any epic mentoring stories? If you’re interested in being mentored, visit Ad2 Tampa Bay’s site for more information on their mentoring program.

Read more of Cassie’s posts over at her blog!

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