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Great mentors are diamonds in the rough. An effective mentor must possess the right configuration of personality traits, attitudes, and motivation. Here are the most important qualities that make a mentor great.


Building rapport over time, steadily, is a central feature of any great relationship. The mentor must establish a connection, nurture it, and hopefully watch it bloom into an excellent give-and-take relationship that genuinely benefits the recipient as well as the mentor himself or herself.

As hard as any mentor tries to establish a connection with their new contact, success or failure will depend on personality compatibility. Sometimes, the stars don’t align – and that’s okay.

Expertise to Share

For the relationship to make sense, a mentor must have important insights that they can share with the recipient of their mentorship. To garner the attention of the person they are mentoring, a mentor must have to be something of value that they are willing to share with them. Great mentors know their strengths as well as their weaknesses. In turn, they effectively leverage their strength to impart their knowledge to the individual being mentored by sharing expertise.

Pushing Boundaries

Personal growth is impossible without an ongoing set of consistent challenges. This can come in the form of physical challenges such as building muscle, professional development in terms of acquiring and refining skills, or individual social progress in developing important relationships and building a strong base of social support.


In the long run, a mentorship role is only as influential as the energy and enthusiasm that the mentor brings to the table. If a mentor is disinterested or disengaged – for example, if the work is court-ordered or compulsory in some other way – they are doomed to failure from the start.

You may have noticed this dynamic in your own life – if you interact with someone who conveys genuine interest, you notice and likely respond favorably. On the other hand, we tend to take note when our social connections are disinterested.

In short, there must be ample motivation on the mentor’s part to make a difference truly – without it, and the underlying mentorship strategy is useless.

With the right attitude, effort, and compatibility, a mentor can make a genuine, long-lasting positive change in those whom they help.