Internet Survey Results:
Characteristics of the Most Effective Mentors
During the first quarter of 2003 an on-line survey was conducted by the Center for Coaching & Mentoring, Inc. The objective of the survey was to better understand what the purpose of the most effective mentoring relationship was and the behaviors of the respondents most effective mentor. Seventy individuals responded; twenty males and fifty females, with seventy-four percent being under forty-five years of age. When asked about the main purpose of their most effective mentoring relationship the group results were:
One open-ended question was asked:
Think about your most effective mentorthe person who was most helpful for you. Keep this person in mind, and describe, in as much detail as you can, what they did that made them your number one mentor. What set them apart?
For some fascinating reading the full text of the responses, with personal names and companies edited out, can be viewed by clicking here. The overall reaction to these comments is not of some super human event, but of a caring, deeply committed relationship. Those who have never experienced this type of a mentoring relationship can be heartened that it is possible if both parties are committed to making it work. The following summary, in decreasing times mentioned, of the major themes with illustrative comments provides insight into the richness and lasting impact these relationships have had on the respondents.
A role model: My most effective mentor lived by example; This is the person I modeled myself after; My mentor walked her talk; I admired and thereby learned a lot from them; She is a role model, setting an example.
Achieving role model status may result from past accomplishments, ones values or organizational position. We believe a stronger case can be made that role model status was earned by how the mentor behaved during their interactions with those who responded to this survey. Role model status is an output of the interaction, the respondents wanted to emulate their mentor and replicate the following ten behaviors in their interactions when they became mentors.
Other behaviors were mentioned but not consistently enough to be considered a predominant theme for the seventy respondents. These ten behaviors can be achieved in a mentoring-partner relationship. For those engaged in a mentoring relationship, these ten behaviors could be a useful check list for both the mentor and partner to evaluate the health of their relationship and where improvements could be made.
Matt Starcevich, matt@coachingandmentoring