Leadership Mentoring: The 5 skills every business owner needs

“Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.” – John Crosby

At Tribus People, we believe a vital skill for great leadership is the ability to mentor. Mentorship involves guiding your employees, impacting both their personal and professional development.

But why should you be interested in developing your mentoring skills? What are the benefits to you, your employees or your organisation?

Leaders who effectively mentor their teams notice improved job satisfaction, higher retention rates, enhanced performance, and a stronger sense of community and collaboration among team members (Dennison, 2023).

Like most skills, mentoring skills are not necessarily innate, they require work, effort and intentionality. However, importantly, they are something that can be developed. 

What skills are required?

Inclusive leadership and Self-awareness

Before mentoring others, you should first examine your own biases, and understand yourself, others, and your impact. This self-reflection ensures that mentorship is conducted in a way that respects each individual’s unique attributes, allowing for maximum effectiveness of personal and professional growth.

Psychological Safety

When employees feel they can speak candidly without negative consequences, they are more likely to share their true thoughts, challenges, and aspirations. Building a psychologically safe environment allows for constructive feedback, which promotes the individual’s development, but also creates a workplace where mistakes are viewed as learning opportunities, driving change, improvement and innovation.


“Make sure the leader is vulnerable first and often” – The Culture Code

By demonstrating humility and humanity, you signal that it is okay to have flaws and to be open about challenges. Being vulnerable creates a trusting relationship, encouraging employees to do the same. This shared vulnerability paves the way for deeper connections, improving the quality and usefulness of the conversations.

Intelligent Communication

“If you do not know how to ask the right question, you discover nothing.” – W. Edwards Deming

Well-framed questions not only facilitate greater understanding but also empower employees to articulate their ideas, obstacles, and goals.

Equally important is your comfort with silence. Silence is a powerful tool that provides room for reflection and thoughtful response, rather than prompting rushed or superficial answers. Your ability to communicate intelligently, facilitate conversation and play with silence will significantly enrich your conversations and relationships.


Displaying a genuine desire for continuous learning and development serves as a model for team members, encouraging them to adopt a similar mindset. Leaders who are perpetually curious do not just impart wisdom; they also seek to understand different viewpoints and unique challenges faced by their employees. This two-way street of curiosity promotes lifelong learning and collaborative growth.

Many of these skills can be considered standard for good leadership, but their importance becomes even more evident in the context of Leader-employee mentoring. Honing these skills allows for the application of a mentoring relationship, which then promotes personal, employee and organisational benefits.

Reference List

Coyle, D. (2018). ‘The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups’. Random House.

Dennison, K. (2023). ‘The Power Of Mentorship: How Mentors Can Help Employees Grow And Succeed’.

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