what makes a great mentor

What Makes A Great Mentor?

What Makes A Great Mentor

It’s no secret that mentorship can make a profound difference in the lives of high school students. Whether it’s volunteering as a 1-1 Big Brother Big Sister match or visiting local high schoolers in the MentorU program, getting involved helps students and the community. With mentors, students stay in school avoid risky behaviors such as drugs and alcohol, and become happier people.

However, some mentors rise above the rest. Their mentees are excited to see them and leave each meeting excited about their future. They have a good mentor-relationship with their mentees and that relationship continually improves. But how does one become a great mentor? What are the qualities of a great mentor? Keep reading below to learn about what makes a great mentor.

Great Mentors Have Patience

When you first begin mentoring a high school student, you’ll likely notice very soon that teenagers tend to put up a wall. They’re not sure who they can trust and they likely won’t want to tell their whole life story to you the first time you meet. Odds are, they won’t on the second or third time either. It takes time to build trust and respect with teenagers and high school students.


Since many students teenagers are reluctant to trust adults, mentors that exhibit trustworthiness from the first meeting onward build a solid mentorship relationship. While building trust can be a long process, there are small ways to build trust early on.

For example, great mentors keep their promises, no matter how small. If they say they’re going to email their mentee about a project or review their resume, the mentor does it promptly. They show up when they say they will.

Great Mentors Are Responsible

Part of being a mentor is keeping the mentees accountable. As a result, the mentors must be responsible and accountable themselves. While it’s important to keep things fun, it’s equally important to make sure that the work gets completed and the goals reached.

Additionally, young persons see a lot of propaganda and advertising that promote risky behaviors. A mentor who lives a responsible lifestyle while still loving life shows teenagers that they don’t have to do drugs or party in order to be “cool.” A great mentor will be a great influence.


High school is rough. If the mentee has a bad day and just needs someone to listen, a great mentor can put aside their expectations and lend a listening ear or a helping hand. A great mentor knows that people, especially those in high school, have bad days sometimes. They will listen and make sure the mentee feels heard and understood.

Additionally, a good mentor will help them put their problems into perspective. This will help the student understand that these problems may not be so painful in a few years and that life can get so much better.


Finally, a mentor will often give advice. A great mentor will back up their advice with stories of their experiences. This often includes telling stories of mistakes the mentors made and things the mentors did well. This level of vulnerability and honesty helps the mentees get a full understanding of what adult life is like after high school.

Great Mentors Build Confidence

From high expectations to bullying, there are so many factors that can damage a young person’s confidence. A great mentor will help their mentees build confidence in themselves and their abilities. This will help the students reach their full potential and feel inspired to dream bigger.

Volunteer With Big Brothers Big Sisters of The Inland Northwest

Big Brothers Big Sisters of The Inland Northwest offers one of the best mentorship programs in the area. In our mentorship programs, mentors work with youth to help them grow their skills and confidence and plan their futures. To become a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters, visit our Be a Big page.

Make a BIG difference tod

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Inland Northwest is a 501C3 organization. Our mission is to create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth.

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