Becoming a Mentor

What Makes a Good Mentor

Before becoming a mentor, here are a few things to understand about the role of mentoring. Most of us have had a teacher, supervisor or coach who has been a mentor to us and made a positive difference in our lives. Those people wore many hats, acting as delegators, role models, cheerleaders, policy enforcers, advocates, and friends. Mentors assume these different roles during the course of a relationship, and share some basic qualities:

  • A sincere desire to be involved with a young person
  • Respect for young people
  • Active listening skills
  • Empathy
  • Ability to see solutions and opportunities
  • Flexibility


  • Mentoring relationships are a shared opportunity for learning and growth. Many mentors say that the rewards they gain are as substantial as those for their mentees, and that mentoring has enabled them to:
  • Have fun
  • Achieve personal growth and learn more about themselves
  • Improve their self-esteem and feel they are making a difference
  • Gain a better understanding of other cultures and develop a greater appreciation for diversity
  • Feel more productive and have a better attitude at work
  • Enhance their relationships with their own children

Above all, a good mentor is willing to take the time to get to know their mentee, to learn new things that are important to the young adult, and even to be changed by their relationship.

Get Started

You have made a wonderful and very important decision in choosing to become a mentor or Influencer with The Colorado Teen Project. The following steps will help walk you through the process of choosing how you would like to mentor – as a 1:1 mentor or as an Influencer working with several youth. To help you decide which type of mentoring is right for you, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What time commitment can I make?
  • What age of youth would I like to work with?
  • Would I like to work with one youth or skill building with a group?
  • Would I like to team with other adults to mentor one youth or a group?
  • What types of activities interest me? Do I want to help a youth learn a specific skill, pursue an interest, help with schoolwork/test prep or just be a caring adult friend?
  • What mentoring location would I prefer and what works best for my schedule?

Adapted from “Become a Mentor”, The National Mentoring Partnership. (, published by MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership, covers issues on youth mentoring.