Leadership University

Mentoring Tips

  • Trust your natural mentoring skills: You probably already serve as a mentor in a variety of settings in your life.  Parents, supervisors, teachers, and friends all act as mentors. Trust your natural instincts!


  • Get to know your student: What interests him or her? What are they pursuing their major/career? What are they passionate about? What do they struggle with? What do they want to  learn more about? Understanding your student's communication style and personality will allow you to more effectively communicate and connect.


  • Share your story: You don't need to share every intricate detail of your life, but don't be afraid to share some personal information.  How did you get to where you are today in your career?  What is important in your life other than work?  What are you passionate about?  What were you like as a student?


  • Be enthusiastic and encouraging: Enthusiasm to share information and to help your students learn shows this is a relationship you care about. 


  • Be an active listener: Students need to feel that you appreciate and care about what they say.  Focus on what the student is saying without interrupting.  Re-cap what your student says to make sure you heard him or her correctly.  For example, "What I think I heard you say was ______".  "Is that correct?"


  • Manage your helpfulness: Sometimes what students need is just for someone to listen and support them.  As a mentor, you don't need to provide all the answers.  Encourage your student to explore resources and solutions.  Ask questions such as "What options are you considering?"  "What has worked well for you in a similar situation?" or "What resources do you need to further explore this issue?"  Provide guidance, but be realistic about what you can and cannot do for your student.  


  • Provide constructive feedback: Students will benefit from your opinion and want to know how they are doing.  Don't be afraid to share your constructive feedback. 


Resource: Xavier University Career Services Center, Mentoring Program, Mentoring Handbook

Page last modified May 12, 2014