mentoring mindset shifts

A mentor is a seasoned advisor who supports and guides another individual’s personal or professional journey. Together, they work to achieve a common goal. Because a mentor can give valuable support to a mentee’s career, they are highly respected for their expertise. 

But what qualities make one an effective mentor? In most cases, mentors are managers in an organisation since they already have the needed leadership skills. Where does the line between being a manager and a mentor separate? Can you be a mentor without being a manager? You can read more about our tips on how to be a great mentor here. 


Adopting the Servant Leadership Philosophy

To be an effective mentor, you must make mentoring mindset shifts. Mentors do more than just lead– they impart wisdom and build a dynamic relationship with the mentees. And it all starts with adopting the Servant Leadership philosophy, where you prioritise serving the greater good. In an organisation, this means putting your team and mentees first so you can inspire and empower them. 

We’ve taken a chapter from Robert K. Greenleaf’s 1970 essay, The Servant as a Leader, and applied it to mentoring. If you’re a mentor looking to level up your mentoring impact, make the following mindset shifts and apply the Servant Leadership philosophy: 


Mentoring Mindset Shift #1: From Authoritarian to Facilitator

As a manager, you have to be accountable for the people you are handling. But when you become a mentor, you need to allow your mentees to take charge of their projects and decisions. In the process, you provide them feedback and guidance so they can build confidence in what they are capable of. 

By allowing your mentees to discover their own solutions, you allow them to foster independence and develop critical thinking skills. Even if you already know the answer, you don’t dictate it to them. Instead, you ask probing questions and facilitate discussions so they can learn from your own wisdom. 

At the same time, you get to learn new things from your mentee’s point of view. This teaches you to abandon the “my way or the highway” mentality and that there is more to be learned through cooperative learning. 


Mentoring Mindset Shift #2: From Fixed to Growth Mindset

A fixed mindset means you believe a person’s abilities and intelligence are static. Meanwhile, a growth mindset allows you to embrace the idea that a person can learn new skills through effort and perseverance. 

The best mentors have a growth mindset since they encourage their mentees to look at challenges as opportunities for growth instead of bringing them down. By having this mindset, you can remain open to feedback, build resilience, and embrace lifelong learning. 

A LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report revealed that 94% of employees would stay at an organisation longer if it invested in their career. Through mentorship, you can improve employee retention and equip employees with the skills they need to become future leaders. Effective mentors invest time in training and other opportunities that will equip their mentees. 


Mentoring Mindset Shift #3: From Closed-Mindedness to Accepting Constructive Criticism

Criticism can be difficult to accept, especially when it borders on being too personal. But at times, criticism can be a valuable tool and used as an opportunity to address areas you’re having difficulty in. It’s always a good idea to welcome constructive feedback as a chance to make better changes instead of seeing it as an attack. 

As a mentor, you will need to lead by example and demonstrate your commitment to learn and grow. When you receive feedback, look at it as an opportunity to grow by following a learning-oriented approach. Coincidentally, you are showing your mentees that it’s okay to make mistakes as long as you learn from them. 


Mentoring Mindset Shift #4: From Transactional to Transformative Relationships

A key mindset shift you need to make when you become a mentor is how you take care of relationships. Managers typically have transactional relationships that are focused on a short-term and specific goal. When you become a mentor, however, you need to follow a transformative approach to relationships. 

Effective mentors build deep and meaningful relationships that go beyond immediate goals. With this mindset shift, you invest in your mentees and understand their aspirations, values, and potential. You become a silent cheerleader for them as they go through things to achieve their goals. 


Mentoring Mindset Shift #5: From Directive to Empowering Leadership

An effective mentor adopts an empathetic mindset rather than a directive approach. They see their mentees as human beings instead of an organisation’s resources. Managers are stern towards the people they lead, but a good mentor empathises with his mentees. 

An effective mentor knows how to be constructive, kind, and direct. They’ll know how to show tough love when needed, but still be able to stay respectful to their mentee’s emotions.  With this mindset shift, they can foster trust and loyalty among their mentees and empower them to be better versions of themselves. 


Ready to Become a Mentor?

These five mentoring mindset shifts can make you better servant leaders in no time. They don’t only help benefit your mentees, they can also enrich you as a mentor. 98% of Fortune 500 companies have seen the need for mentoring in the workplace. It’s about time you embrace this tool for your workforce. Call us today to book a demo and see our mentoring software in action. 



  1. LinkedIn Learning. 2018. 2018 Workplace Learning Report: The Rise and Responsibility of Talent Development in the New Labor Market.
  1. Cook, Sam. (2024, March 11). 2024 Mentoring Impact Report: 98% of Fortune 500 Companies Have Mentoring. mentorcliQ.

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