A mentor, by definition, is one who is disinterested in your success. That means your success does not reflect directly on the mentor. Such a definition may be too narrow for many organizations, but it is something to consider as you select a mentor. Look for one who has a track record of working with others, and talk to them about the influence they had on the lives of those they mentored. Most importantly, select a mentor who complements you. My advice is to look for someone who can teach you what you don’t know. This individual may be in your field but has experience and wisdom far beyond your own. A mentor must be one who is willing to listen but not always someone who tells you what you want to hear. You want a mentor to challenge your assumptions and open new avenues of exploration.
chair of the leadership development practice of N2growth, a global leadership consultancy. John is the author of more than a dozen books, including the recent MOXIE: The Secret to Bold and Gutsy Leadership.