Four Things that Mentors Do Differently

“One good mentor can be more informative than a college education and more valuable than a decade’s income,” argued Sean Stephen. Whether you are seeking tactical or general advice, having a good mentor can equip you with the perfect tools and mental models to help you identify the perfect path to success.

Today, the most successful people, from entrepreneurs to athletes, credit the bulk of their success to the relationships they created with mentors earlier on in their careers. However, you can only enjoy such super-success by working with a good mentor. If you are looking for a mentor or already have one, it is prudent to check the qualities that separate the best from the pack.

I sat down with a number of expert mentors in this space, and they gave me tidbits of advice, and I will share my favorite – the Four Things that Mentors Do Differently.

The Best Mentors Sets Things in Motion

When I first worked with a mentor, I remember him telling me, “Let us go do this,” and it was so powerful. From the moment you start working with a mentor, it becomes apparent that you are no longer alone, but with an experienced, knowledgeable, and wise support to see you race to the finishing line. Whether you have a new startup, or you are running a department, a mentor can help to get the ball rolling in the right direction.

Like a trainer guides a new driver, a mentor is an enabler, helping you to identify bottlenecks and pinpoint the most potential solutions. And you know what? The mentor does not stop there. After setting things in motion, he comes in to show you what works and what does not, citing personal experiences.

A good mentor helps you to move closer to success, making the parameters of success easy to figure out so that you can race towards the ultimate goal. Be it growing sales, leadership change, or restructuring your enterprise, your mentor will help you steer the ship successfully.

The Best Mentors are Practical

Today, the internet is full of fanciful advice on how to solve every problem that comes your way. But, are they practical? The chances are that such pieces of advice are not aligned with your situation or were designed for another person or situation. They are not practical, and this is why you need to do things differently – working with the best mentor.

A great mentor is able to carefully balance optimism with reality, helping you to build a cautious, yet positive attitude that is needed for success in your enterprise. Furthermore, the solutions that the mentor promotes are actionable and commensurate to your situation or level of operations. If your enterprise is at startup, the mentor will propose remedies that are actionable for business at that level, and that might differ from what a mentee with a more advanced company would get.

At this point, I must indicate that as a mentor, you can only go as far as you are willing to put in. So, instead of saying that that is enough, get a new challenge, and your mentor will help you to make the best from your best. No challenge is too big to overcome if you are ready for it, and with the help of a mentor.

The Best Mentor Helps to Bring Out Your Potential

The primary role of a mentor is to help people discover their potential. In many cases, mentees have difficulties identifying their strengths or limitations. To you, the mentor is an outsider who consistently inspires you to see the personal talent and potential. He will help you to see things differently and draw better models for unlocking your potential.

You will also like the fact that a mentor does not just show you what is good, but will tell you the truth as it is, even if it is in the negative. Then, he will tell you the best way to optimize your potential. Take the case of a marketer trying to get his way through the digital marketing space.

In digital marketing, most marketers stick to the notion that “quality content is king” which is indeed true. However, a mentor will tell you that only focusing on quality without considering quantity is likely to yield suboptimal results. Even if you work on a very good marketing video or post, but post only once in a month, your site visitors coming back every week for new content are likely to move to competitor sites. This translates to lost traffic, poor ranking on search engine result pages (SERPs), and lower sales.

A mentor will tell you what you are not doing correctly and offer you the best opportunities for change. These changes will become your foundation for growth and success in your business. 

The Best Mentors are Tactical

In mentorship, motivation is crucial, but mentors who solely rely on high-level strategies and concepts are likely to be less helpful compared to those who use tactical and strategic tools. A great coach will not necessarily be running complex analysis, but will have figured out a model framework that can be applied to draw the right decisions at your level.

A good mentor will tell you that in order to achieve specific results fast, you should not think of reinventing the wheel.  Instead, you should take a look at the people who are successful, and that continue to achieve enviable levels of success with as few mistakes as possible. Then, ask yourself two questions: “How did they do that?” and “How can I achieve what they have done?”

The right mentorship will not just help you to achieve what these great achievers have, but will empower you to get something better.


Mentors are the link that you need to refine your goals and finally become successful. They are practical and realistic and can help you build the right skills to apply right away and in the future, when working alone. See – in addition to propelling you to success, a great mentor can help you continue growing further.