The 9 Mentors You Need

Whether you’re looking for career advice or need insight on some other big change in your life, mentors are there to help you navigate the journey.

Below are definitions of nine different types of mentors. Make it your goal to have these different types of people as part of your mentoring team to help you succeed. In addition, strive to fill one or more of these roles in someone else’s life. The rewards are tremendous!

The Challenger

If you want to grow, you will want some challengers in your life who will tell you when they think you're doing something wrong or if you need to spend more time thinking something through. Challengers ask the tough questions that help you analyze your situation realistically.

The Cheerleader

A Cheerleader is someone who will be genuinely happy for you when you succeed and who will cheer you on when you might be struggling. Our parents, spouses and good friends can fill this role for us in many ways; and professionally, having a person in your field saying, “you can do this” can be a tremendous asset.

The Coach

Coaches are there to help you think through difficult problems. A good coach doesn’t solve your problems for you; they help you see both the problem and your role a bit more clearly. They do this by observing, listening, asking focused questions, reflecting, and challenging. Coaches can suggest strategies for solving problems you might not have considered, and can help you think “bigger picture” on ideas and possible solutions.

The Connector

The Connector gets satisfaction from making connections. They are happy to share their personal and professional network with others. This type of mentor is a true asset. Sometimes it really is who you know that can make the difference!

The Educator

An Educator is a person who takes the time to sit down and share their expertise with those who want to learn. Educators love to help others by sharing their wisdom.

The Idea Generator

Sometimes we get lost in the day-to-day struggles and we forget to have fun. Taking time off is necessary to allow us to free our minds to look at the big picture. Is this the life we imagined? Where can we make adjustments in either our personal or professional life? The Idea Generator takes on the role of “thought partner” and helps you to open your mind to new experiences and new opportunities.

The Librarian

As you navigate through life, it’s helpful to be able to pull from various reliable resources to help you get along. The Librarian has a wealth of information on your community, clubs, organizations and support systems. They know a resource for almost any need and are aware of where to go to get questions answered or to get things done.

The Super Star

Find people who you admire. People who are living parts of their life in a way you aspire to, or who currently have the career that you want to have. Spend time with them and get to know their routines, their resources, how they go about their days. While their way is not the only way, you can gain valuable insight into steps you might want to take to get you closer to your goals!

The Teammate

Some days you just need an awesome listener. Someone to remind you that it’s okay; tomorrow is another day. A good teammate realizes that you aren’t always looking for a solution to your problem, that sometimes you just need a sympathetic ear, and to know that someone is on your side. 

A truly great mentor often embodies more than one of these personality traits. Look for mentors that know when to step in, when to push, when to teach and when to inspire.  Making these connections and having these relationships available to you means that you can pull from these resources whenever you might have the need. Take a moment and reflect on what you might also have to offer to someone else. Be aware of the needs of others around you and offer your time and expertise if you are able. Mentoring can be a very rewarding experience for all involved!

Ed4Career offers courses designed to help you improve your communication and coaching skills. For more information about Ed4Career please visit our website at