Close this search box.
Close this search box.

5 Tips for Improving Your Mentoring Skills

Every CEO wants to leave a legacy. Mentoring is one way you can do it. 

Effective mentoring is part art, part science—and you get better at it with experience.

Dennis C. Miller, a former healthcare CEO, has mentored dozens of people, and believes the willingness of others to guide him in his youth and earlier in his career helped him overcome major obstacles and achieve leadership positions in healthcare and the nonprofit sector. Miller’s written a book about his experiences, “Moppin’ Floors to CEO: From Hopelessness and Failure to Happiness and Success” (Author House).  Here, Miller offers fellow CEOs 5 tips for becoming a better mentor.

1. Your attitude shapes the outcome. Don’t agree to be a mentor unless you really want to do this. Mentors genuinely want to help others. You will get back from doing this—I know I have— but it’s not about financial gain. It’s about sharing your experiences.

2. Choose your mentee relationships carefully. Not everyone benefits from being mentored, and not every mentor is right for every mentee. Before agreeing to be a mentor, meet with the individual and get a sense of whether there’s a good fit personally.

3. Create a mentoring “contract”—and stick to it. Be clear about your own expectations, and get the other person to do the same. Agree on the goals of the relationship, how often you’ll meet, how often you’ll pause to review progress. Some people put this in writing. Others are fine if it’s spoken aloud. The important thing is to be clear about it with each other.

4. Respect your mentor-mentee relationship. It’s easy to cancel meetings or multitask when you’re crunched for time. You want to avoid doing this. If you’re not taking it seriously, your mentee won’t either.

5. Listen more than you speak. Be a proactive listener. The best thing you can do as a mentor is to ask the right questions and listen—really listen—to the replies.”

Most successful leaders can look back and recall senior people taking a personal interest in their careers at crucial stages. Being mentored is closely associated with achievement. The people you mentor today might well become the fast-trackers you’ll work closely with in years to come.


  • Get the CEO Briefing

    Sign up today to get weekly access to the latest issues affecting CEOs in every industry
  • upcoming events


    Strategic Planning Workshop

    1:00 - 5:00 pm

    Over 70% of Executives Surveyed Agree: Many Strategic Planning Efforts Lack Systematic Approach Tips for Enhancing Your Strategic Planning Process

    Executives expressed frustration with their current strategic planning process. Issues include:

    1. Lack of systematic approach (70%)
    2. Laundry lists without prioritization (68%)
    3. Decisions based on personalities rather than facts and information (65%)


    Steve Rutan and Denise Harrison have put together an afternoon workshop that will provide the tools you need to address these concerns.  They have worked with hundreds of executives to develop a systematic approach that will enable your team to make better decisions during strategic planning.  Steve and Denise will walk you through exercises for prioritizing your lists and steps that will reset and reinvigorate your process.  This will be a hands-on workshop that will enable you to think about your business as you use the tools that are being presented.  If you are ready for a Strategic Planning tune-up, select this workshop in your registration form.  The additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    New York, NY: ​​​Chief Executive's Corporate Citizenship Awards 2017

    Women in Leadership Seminar and Peer Discussion

    2:00 - 5:00 pm

    Female leaders face the same issues all leaders do, but they often face additional challenges too. In this peer session, we will facilitate a discussion of best practices and how to overcome common barriers to help women leaders be more effective within and outside their organizations. 

    Limited space available.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $495 will be added to your total.

    Golf Outing

    10:30 - 5:00 pm
    General’s Retreat at Hermitage Golf Course
    Sponsored by UBS

    General’s Retreat, built in 1986 with architect Gary Roger Baird, has been voted the “Best Golf Course in Nashville” and is a “must play” when visiting the Nashville, Tennessee area. With the beautiful setting along the Cumberland River, golfers of all capabilities will thoroughly enjoy the golf, scenery and hospitality.

    The golf outing fee includes transportation to and from the hotel, greens/cart fees, use of practice facilities, and boxed lunch. The bus will leave the hotel at 10:30 am for a noon shotgun start and return to the hotel after the cocktail reception following the completion of the round.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $295 will be added to your total.