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What Makes A Good Mentor?

Mentor and trainees in workshop bending copper piping

If you’re in a good position in your industry, it’s likely you didn’t do it all alone. Most people begin at the bottom and work their way up with the help of others, so why not pay it back and become a mentor?

No matter what industry you’re in, being a mentor is an important role. As a mentor, you’re responsible for training the next generation of industry experts.

While mentoring someone takes time and effort, there are numerous ways to benefit from the experience. Not only will you change someone’s life by allowing them to join the industry, but you’ll gain a new perspective and fresh ideas, strengthen the skills and knowledge you already have and improve productivity.

So, what qualities make a good mentor?

Let People Make Mistakes

One of the best ways to learn is to make mistakes, so don’t rush to correct errors too soon. Although no one likes getting things wrong, there are some benefits.

If a trainee makes a mistake, they will be given the opportunity to identify what went wrong and why. This, in turn, will help them better understand how and why something works and the best way to go about the task next time.

Be Patient

To be a good mentor, you must have patience. The trainee you’re mentoring will be new to the industry and probably have little prior experience. As a result, they’ll likely make mistakes along the way and decrease the work rate, but it’s all part of the learning process.

Remember that you were in their position once, so help them where you can rather than get impatient.

Share Your Knowledge

To be a good mentor, you must have plenty of knowledge in the field – and be confident in it. No one wants to learn from someone who is second-guessing themselves and their skills. So if you need to brush up on a few aspects of the role beforehand, make sure you do, but be confident in knowing what you’re doing.

Gas trainees working in the workshop on a gas meter

Offer Encouragement

Let your trainee know if you think they’re doing a good job. If a customer has provided positive feedback about a job or project, share it with them. Positive feedback makes people feel appreciated and confirms that they’re doing well. Therefore, it will motivate your trainee to keep up the good work and improve.

Express Your Passion

You’re in the industry because you love it, so allow that to come through while mentoring. Show excitement for the job at hand – looking at it as an exciting puzzle to complete, not an issue to deal with. Speak positively about your company, role and customers. Show that you’re passionate and that passion will pass on to your trainee.

Set Aside Time To Chat

Communication is vital, making it essential to set time aside to talk to your trainee. This could be about the project you’re working on, the industry in general or even just a bit of chit-chat to get to know one another better. The more you get to know each other, the more you’ll feel comfortable in a working environment.

Electrical trainer mentoring two trainee electricians in the centre workshop

“When you mentor someone long-term, you really get to know and understand their personality, learning style, and goals, which can set you up to offer richer, more relevant advice over time.” – (Source: Hubspot)

Display A Good Work Ethic

Don’t forget, a trainee is learning from you, so displaying a good work ethic is vital. If a trainee sees you keen to get to work and enjoy the job, that attitude will rub off on them. So with that in mind, ensure you’re on time to work each day, producing high-quality work and remaining professional.

Pay Attention To Detail

The devil is in the detail. If you don’t go into detail for each task or project you’re training someone to do, they could end up stumped when they go it alone. It may take more time to explain every aspect of a task to them, but it will be time well spent when you see the trainee complete work independently.

Become a Mentor With Options Skills

We’re always looking for qualified gas engineers at Options Skills to mentor our trainees. For example, during step two of our Domestic Gas Course, our students work on-site to gain skills, knowledge and experience. To do so, they’ll need a good mentor to guide them and share their expertise.

If that could be you, find more information on how you could become a mentor on our site, get in touch via 0121 638 0958 or by email at josh@options-skills.co.uk.

All data correct at time of publication.