1. The Inspiration

Loved by all except guys on the other ‘team’, the inspiration is the poster child of mentoring. The inspirational mentor is laconic. He or she is the Spartan of mentoring. They walk into every mentoring meeting looking to shift the paradigm, and re-shape their mentees view of the world. Bold speeches and swords ablaze, the inspirational mentor is not afraid to stand up and give a roaring speech, nor tell the mentee what is at stake here. The inspiration leads by using beautiful language and analogies to convey a message of pure inspiration.

Pros: Memorable, quotable, action oriented
Cons: Sometimes gets carried away, speeches can be long, dreams may be too big for some

2. The Hardman/Hardwoman

Loved by many, loathed by some – they are the hard task master of mentoring. From day one, they set strict parameters, high goals, and key milestones. They remind their mentees of a drill sergeant; a drill sergeant who lives and dies through self-development and potential, and will stop at nothing to ensure that the mentee becomes the best version of themselves. The hardman or hardwoman sees strength when the mentee sees weakness. Opportunity when the mentee sees fear. While the road with the hardman/hardwoman can be tough, it is almost always extremely productive – and gratifying when you come out alive.

Pros: Creates great habits and good discipline, gets the job done
Cons: Can be disconcerting at times, can inspire feelings of inadequacy and fear  

3. The Encourager/The Coach

Loved by all with a pulse, the encourager is the mentor we all kind of hope for. The encourager looks to encourage. They look to break down barriers and produce progress by ensuring that the mentee knows that they ‘can do it’. No goal is too high, no obstacle big enough to overcome. If the encourager can encourage it, then it can be done. While being a mentee to the encourager can be a blessing, it can also allow a mentee to coast and take the proverbial mile – resulting in very little progress and a lot of procrastination.

Pros: Great experience, friend for life, works extremely well with a hardworker who needs to overcome self-doubt
Cons: Lack of accountability, can ‘get away’ with not doing stuff, doesn’t work well with the lazy guy or gal

4. The Genius

Another poster child of mentoring, the genius is the Elon Musk or Bill Gates; the mentor that changes a mentees life through insight. They close the wrong doors and open the right ones by providing their mentees with knowledge and information that they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to obtain. The genius is often the mentor in highest demand – given that they can provide a mentee with something no one else can. Although it is one of the sexiest mentoring personas, the genius is often busy, and the mentee can lose out if of the genius is too busy prioritising their empire or getting humanity to Mars.

Pros: Can brag about having this mentor, can provide earth shattering ideas
Cons: Often busy saving the world, could potentially seem condescending, you better measure up

5. The Enigma

Many of us have enigma friends; that guy or gal who is sometimes there, sometimes not, and who takes around the world trips without telling a soul. Well, there are enigmatic mentors too. They are sometimes there for their mentees, sometimes not. They often have great advice, and sometimes don’t. But what you can always expect is the unexpected. Life with the enigma can be tough, but it can also be spectacular.

Pros: Unpredictable
Cons: Unpredictable

This is by no means an exhaustive list – nor is it meant to imply that one style is better than any others. In fact, the key to having a great mentorship, just like any human relationship, is to have a great dynamic with and compliment your mentors' style.

Every mentorship and every mentor is different. And they all have something unique and novel to add to your life.

This post first appeared on the Mentorloop blog here >

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