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Choosing a mentor is your responsibility. Making that choice requires that you know what you want.

Most of us at some points in our lives would have need for mentors.

Mentors primarily are like coaches, teachers, counselors, all built into one.

They tend to assume these different forms when need arises. They guide, coach, and teach.

Knowing that you have a need for one, what are the things that you need to watch out for in your mentor to be?


Your would be mentor must be someone who is grounded in his field. Most times, why you need a mentor is because you want to close that knowledge gap that you have. The deficiency might be in any area of life.

So, it is required that your mentor-to-be must be knowledgeable in that area.

So, how do you know this?

• Through what he shares online and in person. What are his views on social media platforms? Has he written any book on that same subject? Does he have a blog on that same subject? Check his social media platforms.

• Have you seen her speak on such a subject? Does she have depth?

• What are his results and achievements in this subject-matter?

• Do his colleagues endorse and acknowledge his proficiency and professionalism?

• Does he collaborate and link up with his peers in his profession or is he a know-it-all kind of a person?

• Does he reference other people, books, links etc in his speech and write ups?

These are some questions you should ask yourself.


This attribute is often used for the mentee-to-be. For me, it is also important that a mentor-to-be is also teachable. Teachability means he also can learn from anyone including the mentee. As a mentor to some, I have on different occasions learned from my mentees too.

If he doesn’t have the grace to learn from anyone one, he might be far from being a good mentor.

How do you know this?

• He quotes others.

• He talks about books he reads.

• In his attitude and carriage, you will see arrogance or not.

• He doesn’t talk to others condescendingly.

• He values other people’s opinions whether they are higher in hierarchy or lower in hierarchy.

• He shows respect for other people’s work.


This point ties up with the point above in a way.

Humility can be sniffed some few miles away sometimes. And sometimes you have to get close before you can smell it.

Humility of heart will allow your mentor to be able to accept you as you are and ready to help you become a better version of yourself.

A man who is arrogant, rarely see good in others. And such an arrogant person hardly wants to help another become better.

What has humility of heart got to do with mentoring or with a mentor?

• Humility allows a mentor to be down to earth.

• It allows a mentor to show transparency.

• It allows a mentor to say, “I don’t know it all” or demonstrate it.

• Humility allows a mentor show that he is also growing and not have attained.

• Humility allows a mentor accepts his flaws, errors and corrections.

A man who is humble is, often, teachable. An arrogant man despises correction and knowledge that can help him.


We have people who are knowledgeable in their niches and fields who are not ready to share knowledge with others at all. Such people are often times, not ready to mentor others.

Mentors are teachers. They love to transfer knowledge. They love to share. They love to groom others. They love to spend time with those who desire to learn off them.

So, how do you know this?

• He loves, and loves to share what he knows with others.

• He shares his findings, observations, thoughts, ideas with peers, colleagues, and juniors around him.

• He does the above to clarify his thoughts, findings, observations and ideas and to get other people’s contributions.

• He knows how to teach.

• He often thinks of the next generation.

• He likes to document his thoughts and observations.

• He doesn’t hoard knowledge and information.

• He collaborates with others.

• He knows how to impart and communicate knowledge.


What do I mean by this?

Your would be mentor must be someone who also knows how to keep words kept with him.

There would be times where you would have to divulge some private information about yourself to your would-be mentor. Such information has to be kept private. He doesn’t need to share that with other people. That is only meant for him to use that information to help you become better.

How do you get to know this?

• Have you heard him share things you think he should have shared in public about himself and others?

• Does he think that all information should be in public space without keeping some as private matters?

• Does he talk low about his seniors in his field and deride his juniors?

• Is he a shameless man or woman? That is he doesn’t care a hoot about anything whether it affects his or others’ reputation or not?

• Does he try to sniff other people’s information?

If after checking all these, and your answers are “Yes”s, then you should know what to do.


That simply says, “Is he a leader and a leader at heart?”

Most mentors (if not all) are leaders. They know the way to your dream, they show you the way, and they are also on the way or have gone there.

Your would be mentor should be a leader in that wise.

How would you know this?

•. He practises what he preaches.

• He rejoices in the growth of others around him.

• He often charts paths for others to follow.

• He is always an encourager.

• He listens well.

• He doesn’t take glory for everything.

• He doesn’t steal other people’s ideas as his own.

• He demonstrates courage, empathy, and generosity.

• He demands accountability.

• He protects.

• He guides.


What do I mean by this?

Your would-be mentor should be someone who holds healthy and empowering beliefs about himself, the world we live in, and about others.

Our lives, is the story of beliefs. And those beliefs are stuff that make us cheery or sadonistic. They are stuff that make us see the world in a bright light or a dull and distraught way.

Your mentor’s beliefs would make him speak gratuitous words or demeaning smacks.

Your mentor’s beliefs would make him see the good in you or throw more rubbish into the garbage can of your life.

A man’s beliefs make him. Those are his looking glasses.

Would you rather end up with a mentor with ‘the cup is half-filled or half-empty’?

That choice is yours, really!

So, how do you know this?

• What are his beliefs on things you really, really value? How does he see them?

• Does he stand for certain views or he is ‘loose’?

• Does he have strong views that are contradictory to yours?

• Who are the people he often reference? Do you respect such people?

• What are the books he reads? Are they books you would love to read?

• Where does he worship? Is it a place you respect or would like to be? *

• What is his beliefs about human potential and personal growth?

• What is his belief about mentoring?

You have to take a deep dive into his beliefs on different aspects of life. If both of you have unmatching beliefs in almost everything, it might be difficult for him to mentor you.


You cannot derive value from some who doesn’t see value in himself, and who doesn’t see the need to add value to others.

For you to be able to add value to (impact) others, you must be able to see that you have value.

Some people don’t see any value in themselves. They feel they don’t have any worth per se. You might see them as an achiever or success but they don’t see it that way.

Such people won’t see any value in a mentoring relationship. Mentoring doesn’t make sense to them. They might even see it as a waste of time.

Your would-be mentor should be someone who has a healthy self esteem and self worth.

Because people who don’t see value in themselves, won’t be able to see value in others.

How do you know this?

• He talks disparaging about their (and others) achievements and successes.

• He sees the world as worthless and nothing.

• He talks down people.

• Books are knowledge are not things he values.

• Life, to him, is a shamble.

• Time and timing is of no importance to him.

• He derides virtually everything.

• He has warped view of virtually everything.

• He sees, even food and some pleasures of life, as distasteful and unpleasant.

There, you have them, eight features or attributes you should watch out for as you approach the mentoring table.

Are they helpful, you can let me know in the comment.

You can also share your own view on this. Let me also learn from you.

This might apply in some few instances. Truth is, some of us have learned so much also from people who don’t have the same religious beliefs as we do.