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The Role of Mentor: Role Model, Broker, and Advocate

While most of the attention associated with mentoring focuses on coaching, there are three other responsibilities of mentors: role model, broker, or link to others, and advocate or cheerleader.

Let me explain:

Role model. This is a person so effective or inspiring in some professional or personal way that he or she is a model for others. When the role model is also an individual’s mentor, he or she is someone whom the protégé admires or looks up to, a person the protégé would like to emulate.

Among the values that a protégé might admire in a mentor is the following: integrity, consideration of other’s feelings, promise keeping, not just promise marking, authenticity, and honoring of confidences.

Broker. A mentor who can serve as a broker has collegial and other professional contacts from which he can offer information or resources to the protégé. As such, the mentor clears the path for the mentee to learn and grow professionally.

Advocate. As advocate of a protégé, the mentor acts as his or her cheerleader, offering positive feedback about his or her work to ensure the mentee is given the chance to test his or her wings. Say your mentee has an idea for a new product, as mentor you see that those who can influence acceptance of the idea learn about it.