A Rubric for Business Mentors: Good, Better and Best Practices

Mentoring partnerships are business interactions that provide a safe place to seek advice, explore networking opportunities and learn career lessons from experienced people who’ve already established themselves in the field. Mentors are an undeniable asset to any budding career, but how do you become an elite mentor? Here is a rubric that compares good mentoring techniques to the best. (Each category builds on the prior.)

Good Better Best
1. Communication
– Regularly responds to emails from your mentee.

– Engages in cordial, productive conversation with your mentee.

– Initiates frequent emails and occasional phone calls.

– Provides follow up conversation or actions after correspondence.

– Practices active listening when conversing with your mentee.

– Consistent correspondence through email, phone, and face-to-face meetings.

– Is clear, concise and offers timely follow through.

– Remains business-like in spoken, written and nonverbal communication.

– Implements uninterrupted active listening that leads to probing questions to develop your mentee’s growth and goal setting skills.

2. Professionalism
– Is polite.

– Treats mentee as a business connect, not an intern or casual friend.

– Shows up on time to planned meetings.

– Is respectful in all dealings with your mentee.

– Shows up prepared to offer helpful input.

– Pre-schedules and confirms upcoming correspondence and meetings.

– Only cancels meetings for emergencies and gives a courtesy call if she/he is going to be late or needs to reschedule.

– Maintains boundaries and treats mentee with the same respect that they’d offer a client or business associate.

– Is organized, prompt and diplomatic.

– Maintains high ethical standards and a strong sense of integrity.  

3. Feedback
– Responds to mentee’s direct inquiries or anecdotes about mistakes.

– Observant in hopes of providing helpful feedback.

– Gives detailed responses and poses questions to provoke further thinking.

– Provides career advancing advice.

– Is considerate when voicing criticism.

– Gives carefully worded, honest observations delivered with tact and paired with advice on how to improve.

– In response to mentee questions: shares stories of professional experiences that they’ve faced when in comparative situations.

– Is empathetic, relatable and sensitive when sharing productive criticism.

– Seeks feedback about their mentorship performance.

4. Genuine
– Is friendly.

– Sincerely wants the best for mentee.

– Interested in building long lasting rapport.

– Is always open and honest.

– Secures and maintains mentee’s trust.

– Actively works toward building true rapport with mentee.

– Is transparent about personal career highs and lows.

– Makes a point to check on mentee’s mental health and well being.

– Guarantees mentee’s confidentiality and treats private conversations as privileged information.

– Prioritizes mentee’s success by sharing contacts, networking opportunities and referrals.

5. Personal Success and Motivation
– Is satisfied with current career.

– Is open to growth.

– Is dedicated to and excited about their career future.

– Sets career goals with detailed outlines on how to achieve them.

– Is receptive to job feedback.

– Is passionate about his/her personal career, the future of the career field as a whole and the fresh perspectives of the up-and-coming professionals who will expand it.

– Continually assesses and reworks career goals that they’ve outlined and pursued.

– Consistently pursues personal career growth through classes, literature, conferences and interactions with colleagues/mentees/fellow mentors.

– Maintains the mindset of a mentee – open to learn from others, eager to receive job feedback and actively pursuing career growth.

Choosing to become a mentor is a noble undertaking that requires time, dedication and commitment. Save the rubric above and devote yourself to making habits of these best practices. Excellent mentorship can make the difference in the quality of a mentee’s future career.

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