Not everyone can be a good mentor. Selecting a great mentor involves being able to discern the qualities that person exhibits that would promote a successful mentoring relationship. A great mentor should not be forced into the role. If mentoring is something that person feels they are not comfortable with, then that should be respected. If forced into the role, the mentor will be less productive in their own role, and the mentee's development will suffer in the process. Mentoring is not for everyone.
What are the ingredients for a great mentor? Probably the main ingredient is the mentor is respectful and treats others the way they would like to be treated. They are approachable, accessible, and they never make the learner feel inferior or less intelligent. They listen attentively to any concerns or questions and strive to seek answers and rectify any issues.
A great mentor draws on their own past experiences. They implement their successes and they learn from their failures. They draw on this experience to teach the mentee, and they use examples to aid the mentee learning experience.
The mentor must also remember they can learn from the mentee. Even though the mentee might be less experienced in their current role than the mentor, they still have their own experiences they bring to the table. The mentor should always remember they can still learn from others as well.
There are a few ingredients for a successful mentee experience as well. For the mentee to have a successful learning experience, they also need to be respectful and always say thank you. They should listen with an open mind, and take time to communicate with the mentor. In other words, follow the golden rule.
A successful mentee asks questions, seeks clarification, follows up with help given, and welcomes feedback on their performance (both positive and negative). They are respectful of the mentor's time.
The main thing both the mentor and the mentee must keep in mind is that they are in this relationship to witness a seedling that was planted grow and flourish into a strong, beautiful vine. A well nourished vine continues to grow, and from that, other seedlings can be planted. Thus the product of a successful mentor/mentee relationship could be the mentee one day becomes a mentor too.