What To Look For In A Mentor...

While attending a demonstration event at Portland State University, my team was asked by one of their project coordinators what we wanted in a mentor. While at first i could think of all the different things it would be great to have help with, i also didn’t really know what to say. What should we look for in mentors?


This is one of the concepts I typically convey when talking with folks whether I’m at demos, working with rookie teams, helping veteran teams, or just sharing information:

Identify the team’s weaknesses and strengths. Take some time to honestly evaluate those and decide on a realistic plan of action. Then set some short term goals and long term goals for the team in how you want to develop and grow as a successful and competitive team. The weaknesses can be strengthened and the strengths can be fortified with mentors who bring their skill sets to apply to the goals and to share with the team. A FIRST team is an opportunity for everyone to grow and develop, including mentors who become a part of the team. If they get that, you are on the road to a lot of fun and hard work.

This one, a bit shorter and simpler - from Andy Baker back in 2003, is one of the best descriptions of a good FIRST mentor that I have ever seen … simply BRILLIANT!


FIRST is full of amazing mentors and this is an example of just a few of them. If you read just a few of the essays I think you can come up with a pretty good list of what to look for in a mentor and the people I try everyday to be more like while mentoring. Some of these guys I am proud to call friend and still get red in the face when I stand next to them or coach with them.