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What Are the Top 10 Traits of an Ideal Mentor? How About a Mentee?

This past Friday night, GovLoop kicked off the Spring 2012 Mentors Program. As part of the orientation session, we asked participants to break into small groups and identify attributes of the ideal mentor and mentees. Here’s what the group (including participants who chimed in by live chat) identified as the top 10 traits for each:


Ideal Mentee

  1. Enthusiastic
  2. Faithful, Available, Teachable
  3. Good follow-through
  4. Honest with self / open with mentor
  5. Humble / receives constructive feedback well
  6. Knows what they want
  7. Prepared / proactive
  8. Recognizes that they bring value, too
  9. Reflective
  10. Willingness to step outside comfort zone
Ideal Mentor
  1. Attentive
  2. Available
  3. Constructive listener
  4. FAT (per above – two-way street)
  5. Good communicator
  6. Help the mentee find calm / centeredness in chaos
  7. Identifying and navigating “chickenship” (fear and/or stepping in “it”)
  8. Sage perspective
  9. Selfless
  10. Sensitive
Please also see my colleague Pat Fiorenza’s great post on “What Makes a Good Mentor?”
What traits would you add for either the mentor or mentee?
What have been the best traits you’ve observed in a mentor/mentee?


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Dick Davies

Please, please, please, protégé, not mentee!

Having been both a mentor and protégé, for both, how about “does real work”? Getting important things done deepens the relationship and the lessons for both.

Mark Sullivan

I would add that an effective mentor also serves as a ‘sponsor’. More specifically, that individual serves as an advocate for the mentee (protégé) to take on more complex, visible, and high profile duties so that he/she can grow and demonstrate his/her capacity to do higher level work.

Dorothy Ramienski Amatucci

I think “willingness to step outside comfort zone” could also apply to the mentor. My ideal mentor would learn from the person he or she is trying to teach, as well.