Mentor competence statements

Generated by the graduates on a development programme

by Andrew Gibbons
Copyright Andrew Gibbons

Not strictly an article, per se, but a useful published list of mentees' considerations and observations about their mentors.

Mentor behaviours they like:
  1. Organised, patient and understanding.
  2. Quietly persuasive.
  3. Good listener, helpful, happy to sit back and observe when appropriate.
  4. Good and patient listener - makes you feel comfortable.
  5. Enthusiastically persuasive.
  6. Has an ability to get things done - by force if necessary.
  7. Organised and efficient worker.
  8. Can get things done, but by persuasion, not by force.
  9. Can be laid back, and relaxed about work.
  10. Effective communicator - listens.
  11. Can ask them anything at anytime of the day within reason (they always make time).
  12. They offer a very different perspective on life that may not have otherwise been considered.
  13. Takes your views on board and acts on them promptly.
  14. Down to earth and realistic.
  15. Around 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  16. Talks through problems.
  17. Open to other points of view.
  18. Good source of information.
  19. They will carry out actions they promised.
  20. Can look at the broad agenda.
  21. Prepared to criticise you constructively.
  22. Shows faith in you.
  23. Can act as a friend while at the same time trying to guide you.
  24. Makes you feel relaxed by showing they understand your perspective.
  25. Can tell you what you need to aim for, your objectives.
  26. Can relate to your experiences, good or bad.
  27. Is prepared to get jobs done for you urgently.
  28. Sets a good example.
  29. Punctual.
  30. Never patronising.
  31. Smiling/welcoming approach.
  32. Gives you respect regardless of which company you are in.
  33. Great social skills.
  34. Good communicator, easy to listen to.
  35. Easy to approach.
  36. Takes you under their wing.
  37. Seeks change.
  38. Can communicate on all levels.
  39. Success driven.
  40. Young at heart.
  41. Pro-active, constantly searching for new ways to do old tasks.
  42. Loads of experience.
  43. Adventurous.
  44. Patient, takes time to listen.
  45. Hardworking, leads by example, very positive attitude.
  46. Friendly.
  47. Encourages your personal and professional development.
  48. Decisive.
  49. Not judgmental of the way I am.
  50. Experienced in life.
  51. Knowledgeable in their field.
  52. Very good morale booster.
  53. Good organiser.
  54. Very creative and practical.
  55. Very good communicator.
  56. Loyal and totally committed to the cause.
  57. Willing to help and offer advice.
  58. Open, and readily accepts new ideas and criticism.
  59. Good organisation skills.
  60. Thinks before they act.
  61. Aware, and have knowledge of their field of expertise.
  62. Follows plan, very innovative.
Mentor behaviours they don't like:
  1. Dictatorial and influential.
  2. Likes to be in control - in the limelight.
  3. Keen for you to help them - wants you to sit back and watch.
  4. Not very enthusiastic and indifferent to winning you over.
  5. Sometimes butts in and doesn't fully listen to what you have to say.
  6. Does not communicate effectively with subordinates - did not recognise existence.
  7. Makes time, but then something else always crops up that is more important.
  8. Very biased point of view and not willing to consider others' points of view.
  9. Mad.
  10. Very poor at keeping in touch.
  11. Talks around problems.
  12. Doesn't carry out actions they promised, and doesn't let you know why s/he didn't do it.
  13. Too critical over issues that don't really matter.
  14. Simply do not acknowledge your presence.
  15. Is vague about the chances of success you have.
  16. Takes no interest in your aspirations.
  17. Uninspiring.
  18. Can give you seedy looks - leaves you wondering.
  19. Do not make you feel like contacting them unless it's business.
  20. Doesn't socialise.
  21. Generates an immense feeling of personal dislike.
  22. Hard to approach.
  23. Old views.
  24. Unadventurous.
  25. Content with working life.
  26. Cannot communicate - non technical.
  27. Very impatient.
  28. Can generate fear.
  29. Can only talk technically.
  30. Is intolerant, impatient.
  31. Lazy, and has a negative attitude.
  32. Unfriendly.
  33. Indecisive.
  34. Inexperienced in a mentoring role.
  35. Judgmental.
  36. Very poor communicator.
  37. Disloyal and willing to 'jump ship'.
  38. Closed and unapproachable.
  39. Stubborn, and unwilling to listen to new ideas.
  40. Acts before they think.
  41. Lacks knowledge and integrity of their field of expertise.

Andrew Gibbons is an independent management and development consultant. He is working on mentoring with organisations in the public and private sector, and is himself working towards the City and Guilds Mentor Award. He can be contacted at, tel: 01666 826533. You will find plenty on mentoring and other topics at: