Characteristics of Quality Mentors
Successful mentors share many common characteristics or traits. They are experienced in the field of school business management and possess a willingness to share skills, knowledge and expertise. These mentors demonstrate a positive attitude and act as a positive role model exhibiting enthusiasm for the profession. Effective written and verbal communication, as well as ongoing personal and professional goals, are present. In addition, they value ongoing learning and professional development. Most importantly, they foster, convey and uphold the standards, norms, and values of the school business profession including the WASBO Code of Ethics. Most importantly, successful mentors have the ability to:
Relate – The development of a positive, trusting relationship is the hallmark of a successful mentorship. The mentor must utilize a variety of interpersonal skills to nurture the relationship, establish trust, and reflect a positive and caring attitude. Only after the establishment of a positive relationship will a mentor and protégé progress to the level of confidentiality and risk taking necessary for an effective mentorship.
Communicate – The ability to listen and communicate effectively with others is paramount. This is one of the most difficult traits to execute successfully on a consistent basis. Constant effort must be made to keep the lines of communication open and vibrant.
Educate – Mentors are the professionals who are committed to sharing their knowledge and expertise. They need to recognize the needs of others and know when to offer support, direct assistance or promote independence. Mentors are dedicated to the profession and reflect a high level of integrity, competence and responsibility.
Collaborate – Collaboration includes the sharing of ideas and expertise. It engenders the creation and participation in a learning team. Collaborators are approachable, flexible and supportive. A mentor approaches the mentorship as an interactive enterprise where they will gain as much as the protégé from the partnership.
Evaluate – The mentor must be able to provide insightful observations and constructive feedback. Appropriate evaluation techniques can help protégés attain insight into unproductive behaviors, and evaluate their capacity to change. The mentor’s over-all role is to meaningfully assist in the development of protégés rather than allowing them to avoid difficult, but relevant issues.
Model – Mentors need to share life experiences with protégés in order to personalize and enrich the relationship. The mentor as “role model” can help motivate protégés to take necessary risks, to make decisions and take actions without the certainty of successful results, and to overcome difficulties in the journey toward professional and personal growth.