Day 26: OPERATION: Create Your Own Path


Day 26 of Operation: Create Your Own Path brings a familiar piece of advice from our featured military spouse - get a business mentor. Maybe you are considering doing just that...but what characteristics make for a good mentor? How do you know if someone will be a good fit for you and your business? We've included some things to keep in mind when you are trying to vet a potential mentor.


Nicola Joshua

Joshua Marketing Group


"Obtain a mentor or support group."


What Makes a Good Mentor?


The idea of finding a mentor is a one that resonates with many of our featured military spouse business owners. We've previously discussed where to find a mentor, but how do you vet potential candidates? What qualities should you look for and which are necessary to ensure a positive, successful working relationship?

We spent some time looking for input from others who have successfully worked with or as a mentor for the skills and characteristics you should look for.

A great mentor will...

Be Authentic

A great mentor "practices" what he "preaches.” '  A great mentor will not only tell you what the best approach is, but is utilizing the approach himself.  He doesn’t send you in one direction while he goes another saying, “you have to learn the hard way.”  The purpose of working with a mentor is to learn from his mistakes.

Debra Moorhead

Be Open

A great mentor is someone who is open to your new ideas and suggestions. You need to have a feeling, no matter what, I won’t be laughed at. In fact an ideal mentor is the one who helps you come up with new ideas and helps you build on them.

Kama Dwipayana

Be Available

A good mentor is always available for concerns, questions, help or advice. The business world is fast-paced and you need someone who can be there for you when you need help moving forward.

Preston D Lee



This trait in mentors comes from the analogy “give a man a fish; feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish; feed him for a lifetime.” Fish are answers. Teaching represents the rod and reel. Don’t give away too many fishes, but the tools to find the answers.

At Home with Century 21 Magazine

Have a positive point of view.
It’s tough to respect a person who is a bad role model. Great mentors are aware of their individual impact on others, or how their behavior and actions affect those around them. When a person is positive, objective and upbeat, it’s much easier to trust and learn from him.

Danita Johnson Hughes

Have a genuine concern for other people.

That interest makes the mentor a talent-seeker. An effective mentor sees in a friend or colleague potential and capacity the person may not see in herself or himself. The mentor must become involved in the life and interests of the other person in order to build a relationship of trust and confidence. Out of that relationship, a mentor begins to gain a deeper insight into the personality and the gifts, so there is understanding to coach and nurture the gifts of the person.

Bailey McBride

The Christian Chronicle

Presents opportunities and challenges

A great mentor presents opportunties and challenges for mentees that they may not have had on their own.  In doing so, mentors provide the means for mentees to take action toward achieving their goals, gain necessary experience to understand the significance of the role demands of a professional, and begin to build a resume of skills and accomplishments that will serve the mentee as they build their professional career.

Paul G. Schempp

Performance Matters

Be a Good Listener

Mentors need to listen more than they talk (good point for all of us) and not be judgmental. Ask to-the-point questions then be quiet and listen. Take notes if you need to, but take it all in before offering advice. Listening is probably the most important trait of a good mentor and if it’s all about you, you, you, then being a mentor is probably not a good fit.

Steve Woodburn

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