Research confirms having a good mentor is essential to success as a leader (Lester, et al., 2011).  A trusted, experienced mentor can bolster an aspiring leader’s belief in their ability to lead,  provide the guidance and feedback necessary to acquire critical leadership skills and provide the emotional support to help weather the difficult times. If you are an aspiring leader, choose mentors

you can identify with.  We see ourselves, at least in part, being them.  Mentoring is a process of personal identification as it shapes our values, thinking and behavior.

you can emulate. Good mentors satisfy our desire for a role model whom we could copy in our efforts to master and achieve success as a leader.

who inspire you. Good mentors encourage us to set our goal bar high and work diligently to reach heights we never thought possible.

who can help you perform and succeed at a higher level. Good mentors have done it and, in turn, make us believe we can too.

What can you expect from a relationship with a good leadership mentor?  You should be able to

  • Set goals and plan a course of action for your development as a leader
  • Receive formative, constructive feedback targeted to your improvement
  • Participate in open discussions on issues pertinent to your development as a leader
  • Develop a leadership support network
  • Learn and demonstrate effective leadership skills and practices.
  • Take on challenging tasks to gain experiences that will serve you later in your career.


Lester, P. B., Hannah, S. T., Harms, P. D., Vogelgesang, G. R., & Avolio, B. J. (2011). Mentoring Impact on Leader Efficacy Development: A Field Experiment. Academy of Management Learning & Education10(3), 409–429.