Personality traits predict mentoring. Explore what types of people are more likely to voluntarily mentor others.

Types of People Inclined to Mentor

Being a mentor has a number of benefits. Without a formal mentoring program, informal mentoring is likely to be happening across your organisation. Some leaders or staff who have a longer tenure might be mentoring several others, whilst other leaders may not be mentoring anyone at all. People who choose to mentor others often possess specific traits and motivations that drive their engagement. Understanding these factors can shed light on the types of people who are more likely to participate in mentoring programs:

  1. Genuine Desire to Mentor: Leaders who genuinely enjoy helping others grow and develop are more likely to volunteer as mentors. Their intrinsic motivation to make a positive impact on others' lives drives their willingness to invest time and effort into mentorship.

  2. Career Rewards: Mentoring can also offer career benefits for leaders, such as enhanced leadership skills, visibility, and networking opportunities. Leaders who recognise the potential career rewards associated with mentoring may be more inclined to participate in mentorship programs.

  3. Positive Mentorship Experience: Past experiences as a mentee can significantly influence a leader's decision to become a mentor. Leaders who have benefited from positive mentorship relationships in the past are more likely to pay it forward and become mentors themselves.

  4. Prosocial Behaviour: Leaders with higher levels of prosocial behaviour, characterised by helpfulness and empathy, are more inclined to engage in mentoring. Their natural inclination to support and empathise with others makes them well-suited for the mentorship role.

  5. Openness to Experience: Leaders with higher levels of openness to experience are characterised by their creativity, receptiveness to new ideas, and appetite for learning. These traits make them more willing to embrace new challenges and engage in mentoring relationships as a means of personal and professional growth.

  6. Humility: Humble leaders are more likely to give up their time to mentor others. Research shows that leaders who demonstrate humility, acknowledging their limitations and mistakes, are more likely to participate in mentoring. These leaders are also better able to connect with mentees and create an environment conducive to learning and growth.

Understanding the characteristics and driving forces behind leaders who choose to mentor others allows organisations to tailor their messaging for recruiting suitable mentors. Interestingly, these traits also shed light on why it may be easier to recruit mentors in industries like Government (where there are high values of altruism and prosocial behaviour) compared to private, competitive organisations. 

If you are considering a mentoring program for your organisation, consider what makes a great mentor. If you're looking to level up your mentoring support and training, consider a mentoring platform such as Brancher, that has built in e-learning modules and resources (bite-sized are best).

Contact Brancher today for a free demo.


Chan, Elsa; Hekman, David R; Foo, Maw Der (2024). An examination of whether and how leader humility enhances leader personal career success. University of Sussex. Journal contribution.

Tammy D Allen. (2003). Mentoring others: A dispositional and motivational approach. , 62(1), 134–154.doi:10.1016/s0001-8791(02)00046-5 

Owens, B. P.
, & Hekman, D. R. (2012). Modeling how to grow: An inductive examination of humble leader behaviors, contingencies, and outcomes. Academy of Management Journal, 55(4), 787818.

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