What Does It Really Take to Be a Mentor?


Mentoring can play a very important role in your career and your business, but many people do not know what is really involved in the process. To get to the bottom of this, I invited a few of the best mentors in Nashville onto the TechnologyAdvice podcast to discuss what characteristics to look for in great mentors. As the EC celebrates “Mentor Month” in January, here are a few highlights of what I learned from Scott Rouse, Jeff Loucks, and Shawn Glinter in that conversation:

Mentoring is not the same as being a friend, consultant, or coach.

While each of these roles are very important, a mentor actually serves the mentee by taking them through an intentional process without telling them what to do. A good mentor takes the time to let the mentee come to their own conclusions and does not say, “if I were in your shoes, I would do this…” A mentor will allow others to process the information so they can make their own decisions.


A mentor is someone who asks the tough questions.

He or she will likely make you mad or even offend you at times. A mentor is someone who cares about what is best for your overall growth and development — not about you liking them. Being challenged and stretched is a normal — yet sometimes painful — part of the process. While no one wants to hear that their business idea is bad, a wise mentor would ask questions that lead the mentee to the right conclusion.

A mentor has the unique ability to think long-term and short-term.

This helps with seeing the big picture and provides perspective to not make hasty assumptions. This is a valuable approach that only comes with maturity and experience.


A mentor often will ask about the expectations for each session.

This may sound small, but it is actually important as this provides clarity and ensures both the mentor and mentee have good communication. Without this step, the mentor and mentee may have completely different goals and expectations altogether.

Have you had a mentor, or have you been a mentor? What stands out from your experiences on either side?

Author Bio
Clark Buckner is the online events manager for TechnologyAdvice, an Inc. 5000 company that connects buyers and sellers of business technology through meaningful relationships. He enjoys podcasting in Nashville, attending Tech Conferences and adventuring life with his wife, Hope.