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Exploring career mentoring and coaching
Exploring career mentoring and coaching

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1.1 What makes a good mentor?

An effective mentor needs several key skills and a quick online search will take you to a wide range of blogs and articles on the subject. Common themes include:

  • the ability to listen
  • the ability to question and challenge effectively
  • honesty and a respect for confidentiality
  • an open mind
  • a positive approach that motivates and encourages
  • the ability to build rapport
  • empathy
  • patience and time to commit to the relationship
  • relevant knowledge and experience
  • self-awareness.

A leading expert in mentoring, David Clutterbuck (2008, p. 6, Table 3), explains that all mentors must:

  • respond appropriately to a variety of needs, which may include recognising and reconciling different and perhaps conflicting purposes
  • recognise and adapt appropriately to the phases of the mentoring relationship (you’ll learn more about these in Week 4)
  • respond with the appropriate level of directiveness and balance between stretch and nurture
  • recognise different developmental roles, and move between them appropriately and comfortably
  • recognise the boundaries between mentoring and other roles
  • establish a positive, dynamic atmosphere within the relationship.