A great mentor can do wonders for your professional growth. Whether you’re a college grad just starting out, or a professional with a few years of experience under your belt, identifying a leader who can share their wisdom, experience, and advice with you can help you grow in ways you never imagined. When you’re ready to pursue mentorship, look for a leader with these qualities: 

Someone who will push you out of your comfort zone

A great mentor might make you feel a little uncomfortable, and that’s OK. Whether it’s motivating you to have a difficult conversation about salary negotiation, encouraging you to take on a project that makes you nervous, or pushing you to apply for the job you’ve convinced yourself you’re not qualified for. This is a good thing. Mentors often see the potential that you might not recognize in yourself, and can identify experiences that can help you grow, even if they feel like more of a risk than you might normally take. 

Someone with wide-ranging interests

Learning doesn’t stop at the end of the workday, and a great mentor knows that. Think about people in your life who pursue opportunities for personal growth and improvement in all areas of their life, whether that’s working towards a black belt in Taekwondo, mastering a new language, or volunteering on their church’s financial council. Someone with diverse interests and a wide network can open your eyes to development opportunities that go beyond the office. 

Someone who values people over profit

A good leader listens first and leads with empathy. Think about the professionals in your life who give others a platform to talk openly, listen compassionately, and put in true effort to get to the root cause of a problem. A person who ensures those on his or team have the right tools for success is the type of person who will help you reach your full potential. 

Someone who’s contemplative 

A great mentor will not only help you look forward, they’ll also help you look back at your past successes, areas of strength, and encourage you to reflect on your potential areas of growth. A great mentor is reflective and self-aware, and encourages you to approach decision making with careful thought. 

Can you think of someone in your life who embodies these qualities? If so, go ahead and reach out with a thoughtful introduction, and remember to check in with them on a regular basis. It’s time to see what you can learn from the people with mentor-material in your life!