The first characteristic important to a mentor is a genuine concern for other people. That interest makes the mentor a talent-seeker. An effective mentor sees in a friend or colleague potential and capacity the person may not see in herself or himself.
The mentor must become involved in the life and interests of the other person in order to build a relationship of trust and confidence. Out of that relationship, a mentor begins to gain a deeper insight into the personality and the gifts, so there is understanding to coach and nurture the gifts of the person.
A mentor must commit time to build a relationship that allows opportunities to understand the potential of the friend.
In addition to being a seeker of talents in people, a mentor must have a special personality. That personality must be warm. To be a warm person is to care for other people enough to be open and receptive. The busy lives that we live in the 21st century make it difficult for people to be warm — even to members of their own family. So becoming warm and caring is an intentional decision of those who want to be used in helping others to reach their full potential and to live fully.
Another personal element of a mentoring personality is being completely forthright and honest. A good mentor always speaks the truth in love, so that the person being mentored is constantly confident that the mentor’s encouragement to follow a path or discouragement from following a path can be viewed as genuine.