6 tips for becoming a better mentor

Being a mentor can be a rewarding experience — not just for those you are advising. IT leaders offer insights on how to establish strong, productive mentoring relationships.

6 tips for becoming a better mentor
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Becoming a mentor is a great way of paying forward your own hard-earned experience and knowledge, as well as any valuable advice and insights you yourself have been given along the way. Moreover, mentoring a promising professional can have a significant impact on their career prospects and pay. According to IDC’s Women in Technology Survey, workers who have a professional mentor make 10 percent to 17 percent more than those who don’t.

Providing constructive feedback or a fresh point of view, helping to navigate obstacles or to evaluate career options, building skills or development plans — there are a number of ways being a mentor can have a positive impact on those you’re advising. But what exactly makes a good mentor? Whether you’re just getting started or looking to improve your mentoring skills, here are some best practices to ensure your mentoring relationships are successful and productive.

Have a mentor yourself

Professionals who have mentors make better mentors themselves, says Melissa Di Donato, CEO of SUSE. Being on the receiving end of mentor advice greatly helps you understand not only what advice works but also how best to deliver what a mentee needs to hear. Not surprisingly, the broader your experience with being mentor, the more knowledge you have to draw on in establishing a strong mentor relationship with those you seek to help.

“The best mentors are the ones that have mentors themselves — and the more, the better,” Di Donato says. “You should have — and have had — a variety of mentors. I am a better mentor not just because of my own experience, but because I’ve been mentored myself and I’ve learned what was successful and what wasn’t, and I can take the lessons I learned and pass those along.”

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