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What do you look for in a mentor?

Alan Jones's Profile


Chris Shumate
Title: Accounting Manager
Company: Dominion Development Group, LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Accounting Manager, Dominion Development Group, LLC) |

Someone that:
- Is where I desire to be
- Has uncompromising integrity
- Is truly committed to helping me grow
- Will give criticism honestly, and me improve
- Continues to learn themselves
- Has mentors also
- Reads more than I do
- Can analyze all situations, then impact the analysis technique to me.
- Confident, yet humble
- Has goals for their future

As selfish as it sounds, when I look for a mentor, or even a person to follow on Twitter, or here on Proformative, I will look at who and how I can be benefited. How can John Doe/Jane Doe help me grow professionally? This even goes for what I read on websites such as,, etc.

In order to grow professionally we have to be intentional.

Topic Expert
Linda Wright
Title: Consultant
Company: Wright Consulting
(Consultant, Wright Consulting) |

In addition to the points Chris makes above, I would also seek someone who has experience, contacts and perspective that are different from mine. A fresh view and the willingness to share it can be truly helpful, as I have found.

Topic Expert
Aaron Codak
Title: Client Services Finance manager, North A..
Company: Kantar Finance Services (Shared Service ..
LinkedIn Profile
(Client Services Finance manager, North Americ, Kantar Finance Services (Shared Service Center)) |

I've been a mentor in the DePaul ASK program for several years now. I have developed some great relationships with some past mentee's that continue to this day through my approach. I am direct and honest with them, I don't try to "sugarcoat" anything - they have not all been in my exact field but I do my best to offer my straightforward advice for what advice I am not able to lend in their specific industry (but if I do know of someone in that industry, I will try and bring them into the relationship as well) or general career advice that I can offer. You need to find someone who you feel comfortable with and that is willing to spend the time with you and feels like they actually care in trying to see you succeed and grow. I've guided my mentors through resume review, practice interviews, interview advice and general career advice - it's worked out well for both of us in that I have enjoyed seeing them get the job and stay in touch with them as they continue throughout their career - and develop a long-term relationship that could benefit both of us somewhere down the line in our business lives.

Topic Expert
Regis Quirin
Title: Director of Finance
Company: Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP
LinkedIn Profile
(Director of Finance, Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP) |

A mentor/mentee is a two way street. The mentor has something to offer and the mentee has something to offer. If you are looking for an older experienced person that will impart their knowledge and wisdom for purely self-less reasons, they are few and far between. Any relationship must be an equal give and take. One sided relationships are not long lasting relationships.

Find someone that highly values your contributions and develop a relationship with that person, if you feel they can teach you..

Topic Expert
Cindy Kraft
Title: CFO Coach
Company: Executive Essentials
(CFO Coach, Executive Essentials) |

<> So true, Regis. And this is the "networking" approach for far-too-many as well. Who can help ME ... rather than how can I help others which will in turn result in a mutually-beneficial relationship.

Topic Expert
Cindy Kraft
Title: CFO Coach
Company: Executive Essentials
(CFO Coach, Executive Essentials) |

I think "uncompromising integrity" is a key ingredient in a mentoring relationship. A lot of people can fool a whole lot of people a lot of the time, so character matters. One of the many reasons I love branding (authentic branding) ... you are who you say you are.

Great question, Alan!

Topic Expert
Deborah Godfrey
Title: Budget Administrator, Business Manager, ..
Company: Seeking Employment
(Budget Administrator, Business Manager, Project/Program Manager, Seeking Employment) |

I agree with the comments thus far. If I were seeking out a mentor, the one thing I would look for before going any further is wisdom. Wisdom tells me that this person has matured, experienced things and can provide good direction and advice to you. Secondly, integrity. This tells me that he/she values ethics and uses good business sense. Another, aspect is character and positivity. Your character helps to build not only yourself but others. Mentorship focuses two-ways on the mentee first and foremost then on the the mentor. Each can always learn and share from the other. Mentorship is a relationship that requires effort on both parts.

I am currently serving as a mentor to an individual and it has been a good, productive relationship for both of us.


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