What Is a Mentor?

the big question

What Is A Mentor?

How to Leverage a Mentor?

The goal of mentorship is to help mentees learn skills and information that will help lead them to success in their careers. Mentoring is more than just sharing knowledge. Mentors help mentees identify their own goals and offer empowerment and encouragement to guide them to achieve their goals, or solve any challenges along the way. 

Identify what you want from having a mentor.  This might include career advice, skills needed for a role, preparation for a certification exam, or areas that you might need to improve. Check out the video below that shares even more details. 

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Video: “The Power of College Mentorship with First Generation Students” shares how college mentorship has an impact on students of all demographics. 

What to Ask a Mentor


To break the ice, have your mentor tell a story from his or her own career.

Some questions to consider:

Was there ever a role you applied for and landed, but weren’t 100% qualified to do? How did you proceed?

• What do you wish you had known before taking your first management role?

• Which leadership skills were the most difficult to develop?

Skill Building

Use questions to ask your mentor for advice and resources to help you polish a skill you are working on.

For example:

Can you recommend a book or resource for dealing with difficult conversations?

What practices can you recommend for dealing with nervousness when speaking to groups?

How can I become a more assertive negotiator?


Self-awareness, or the ability to see yourself as others view you is important for building relationships that can further your career or leadership role.

Ask your mentor questions about how they perceive you, such as:

Where do you see my strengths?

What do you see as some of my blind spots and how can I improve? 

How I am viewed by leadership?