VLV-Seven ways to differentiate a good mentor from a mediocre one-Woman looking for a business mentor

Seven ways to differentiate a good mentor from a mediocre one. For most young people, mentors are key to forging their professional character: a trusted advisor, an advocate, an experienced person.

Since finding a great mentor is one of the most effective ways to improve your professional future, in this article, we show you the ways to differentiate a good mentor from a mediocre one.

What is a mentor?

A mentor is someone experienced who offers the possibility of helping someone through the experiences they have accumulated throughout their life.

It is a practice that has been carried out for thousands of years. Formerly, an older adult’s image was wise, characterized by beards and tunic exposing their knowledge to the youngest in the tribe or society. It is a work that, since the beginning of the 21st century, has become very important when guiding entrepreneurs to start their projects, for example.

Here, a mentor is usually someone specialized in a certain area where they accumulate significant experience. This experience serves to be the perfect guide for entrepreneurs who need an action plan and a strategy to develop their ideas. The experience serves as the basis to help in this type of case.

Mentoring, which is the term that coined the implementation of these practices, has become a highly demanded profession.

What is a mediocre person?

Although mediocrity is not a pejorative term as it refers to “average,” most people do not want to be considered in such a way because of its negative connotation. And it is that this term accounts for someone who does not try hard enough to be “outstanding” and conform to the status quo.

People who are in the ‘average’ of their membership groups usually show some common characteristics.

The mediocre person is docile, malleable, ignorant, a vegetative being, lacking in personality, contrary to perfection, supportive, and an accomplice of the vested interests that make them the sheep of the social herd. They live according to convenience and cannot learn to love. In their accommodating life, they become vile and skeptical, cowardly.

For this reason, these types of people are not ideal for mentoring.

Qualities of a good mentor

It is not enough to have the experience to be a good mentor, but it requires a series of qualities:


  • Interest

To achieve the objective, a mentor must be interested in the topic that they will present and in the startups to which they are going to mentor. Its objective is for startups to grow, promoting knowledge and growth, not only of the value proposition or the business model but also of the founding members or management team.


  • A strategic vision

A more experienced mentor can bring another point of view and should be able to critically and objectively question the startup’s action plan. Their experiences allow them to see critical aspects that may present high risks based on their experience. The goal is to speed up learning.


  • Passive behavior

A good mentor should listen more than talk and act in the background, allowing mentees to develop their train of thought and analysis. The mentor’s mission is to open unexplored avenues. They should not become the protagonist.


  • Empathy

A mentor must be able to grasp the situation of each of the startups and know how to listen to them, put themselves in their situation, and transmit their knowledge in the simplest possible way.

Characteristics of someone mediocre

1. They live in a world of self-destructive negativism and have consciously or unconsciously proposed to contaminate the lives of others.

2. They act in life by deciding with the (usually unconscious) purpose of pleasing others for fear of losing the affection of the surrounding people.

3. They act in life without a clear mental focus, living with the illusion that the important thing is only the now, and therefore, they behave in a scattered way in their relevant matters.

4. They permanently resort to excuses to explain “failures” without taking responsibility for the results that each one generates in life.

5. They have the habit of “scanning” the negative in situations and people, generating blindness to the positive in life and the people they interact with.

6. They complain about everything. They feel that life is constantly playing tricks on them and having a kind of “halo of bad luck.” Subtle victimhood.

7. They don’t get involved in what they do or the interactions they have. In their jobs, they do what is right and necessary. They do not try an extra millimeter to do it with enthusiasm and better. With people, they do not generate listening or emotional connection.

8. They feel that the world is indebted to them, that life is unfair, and therefore, they are permanently waiting for the help of others to solve “their problems.”

9. They feel that life does not give them opportunities, that there are people more talented than them, and they believe that they have been rewarded especially without deserving it, which generates great resentment in them.

10. They are envious of the success of others. When someone tells them about their projects or ideas, they hide a secret wish that those ideas fail. They cannot bear the success of others and suffer for it.

How do you find a good mentor?

Here are some strategies that can help you find a good mentor:

1. Start with whom you know, differentiate a good mentor from a mediocre one

Networking is difficult. However, it only takes you 10 minutes a day to improve your network. Start by evaluating the people you know: LinkedIn contacts, phone, Facebook friends, former bosses, Twitter accounts. Do a little research and see if you can have a potential mentor among the contacts you already have.

If not, form new connections through local associations or chambers of commerce. Identify public speakers on the topic you are interested in when you go to events and introduce yourself.

2. The virtual mentor, differentiate a good mentor from a mediocre one

It is the type of mentor that comes out cheap, usually free, and of which you probably already have several.

A virtual mentor is often a stranger who does not know you but who does not stop adding value to your work and impacting the way you run your business.

3. Pay (if necessary), differentiate a good mentor from a mediocre one

A good option is to pay per consultation. Some counselors you pay for today may become long-term friends who will then help you for free.

4. Join an incubator, differentiate a good mentor from a mediocre one

One service you don’t pay for, at least directly, is a business incubator. These are organizations dedicated to driving the growth of startups.

Some, like 500 and Y Combinator, are backed by venture capital that you can invest in. Others, like CTNext, are supported by local governments. Either way, they will give you a “buffet” of mentors, coaches, and business contacts, as well as access to seed capital and professional services.

5. Find a “matchmaker.” Differentiate a good mentor from a mediocre one

There are online services that connect you with tailor-made mentors. They work like online dating sites in that you pay to be contacted by the specialist that best suits your needs. The downside to this tool is that you will not directly choose your mentor and have to adhere to any terms of service.

6. Define what your ideal mentor would be like

Once you have some candidates, you must select those who can best help you. Here are five points to consider to help you choose:

-Experience: your mentor must have a good record in your area and have the skills you are looking for.

-Communication: just because a person is successful does not mean that they have the skills to help you follow your path. It would be best to have a mentor who listens to you and understands the difficulties you are going through.

-Empathy: your mentor does not have to be your favorite person, but it has to be someone you respect. Don’t be afraid to get close to older people. Mentors in the twilight of their careers understand all the effort it takes to succeed and are usually eager to continue helping new entrepreneurs.

-Hard love: the last thing you need is a mentor to give you by your side. A good guide will know when to speak directly and strongly with you when you need it.

-Connections: you should not expect your mentor to give you all their professional contacts, but your relationship with this guide may help you open doors that will boost your business.

7. Convince the mentor, differentiate a good mentor from a mediocre one

Mentoring isn’t just about you. It is important that the expert who supports you also receives something positive from the experience. Show them why they should guide you, whether it will help their career or grow their business.

8. Make sure you are the best learner

Nothing destroys a mentoring relationship faster than an apprentice wasting their guide’s time. Here are some tips to be the type of person who experts seek to support:

Be enthusiastic about learning and resist the urge to excuse all your actions.

-Do the things they advise you about and give the mentor a follow-up of your progress. If you decide not to take their advice, explain why.


A mentor is nothing more than a guide. Someone who has a deep knowledge of the place you want to get to, in such a way that it will minimize the risks and increase the probability that you reach that place.

Let’s make one thing clear: no one can guarantee that you will get to the place you want to get to. Not all mentees make it, although they will have all grown professionally and personally during the mentorship along the way.

Your next mentor should be someone who provides clarity of mind when you lose focus and who has a proven and verifiable work methodology.

It should be someone capable of supporting you emotionally, helping you get up when you fall, and at the same time speaking to you with total clarity, pointing out your mistakes, and applauding your successes. The ideal mentor should continually push you out of your comfort zone and help you take action.

Thanks to the content of this article, you can now differentiate a mentor from a mediocre one and get the support you need to develop your professional career in a better way.

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