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What roles do I play as a mentor? I seem to be changing hats.

Mentors play different roles according to the needs of the mentee. A mentor wears all these hats listed below. Observe your mentee and decide what she needs at each meeting. 

  • Sounding board: helps the mentee think through their own ideas, out loud. Ask good questions to help the process.
  • Experience sharer: shares their own experiences in areas that are relevant for the mentee, when appropriate.
  • Critical friend: speaks the truth as they see it, and challenges and tests the mentee’s ideas.
  • Listener: listens carefully, allows time, and encourages the mentee to reflect.
  • Counselor: focuses on the emotional aspects of issues, discusses and explores with empathy.
  • Career coach: helps think through career options, goals, and learned lessons.
  • Networking coach: discusses how to build, maintain and use a professional network.
  • Behavior coach: helps with the personal behavioral change of the mentee on specific issues.
  • Motivator: offers encouragement and helps the mentee build self-belief.
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