5 Tips to Finding a Great Mentor

by Mike O'Neill

Welcome to Bench Builder’s first blog … THE BOTTOM-LINE. We will share ideas that will help you Hire, Train & Keep Great Employees. If you have any topics that you would like to include in future posts, let us know. We would love to hear from you.

Over the years, I’ve been blessed with great mentors.They’ve offered career guidance, emotional support and served as positive role models. But great mentors can be hard to find. Eric Barker is one of our favorite bloggers. Hope you will find this “Barking Up The Wrong Tree” post helpful:



Avoid Someone Who Reminds You of a Courteous Waiter. One who focuses his efforts on keeping you comfortable & happy, on making things go smoothly, with a minimum of effort? This is a good person to have as your waiter in a restaurant, but a terrible person to have as your teacher, coach or mentor.

Seek Someone Who Scares You a Little. Look for someone who: Watches you closely: He is interested in figuring out what you want, where you’re coming from and what motivates you. Is action-oriented: She often won’t want to spend a lot of time chatting— instead, she’ll want to jump into a few activities immediately, so she can get a feel for you & vice versa. Is honest, sometimes unnervingly so: He will tell you the truth about your performance in clear language. This stings at first. But you’ll come to see that it’s not personal— it’s the information you can use to get better.

Seek Someone Who Gives Short, Clear Directions. Most great teachers or coaches do not give long-winded speeches. Instead, they give short, unmistakably clear directions; they guide you to a target…Teaching is not an eloquence contest; it is about creating a connection & delivering useful information.

Seek Someone Who Loves Teaching Fundamentals. Great teachers will often spend entire practice sessions on one seemingly small fundamental— for example, the way you grip a golf club or the way you pluck a single note on a guitar.

Other Things Being Equal, Pick the Older Person. Great teachers are first and foremost learners, who improve their skills with each passing year.

Yes, finding a great mentor has many benefits. But be willing to pay it forward and become a great mentor to someone else.


“Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction. “

– John C. Crosby

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