What to Look For In A Mentor by Donna Bellacera

I believe that having a mentor is key to a successful career, regardless of your background or level. This has certainly been my own experience, and I’ve seen many of my friends and team members thrive as a result of a quality mentoring relationship.

I’ve been fortunate to have an incredible mentor : Jim Bellacera, founder of Successful Thinkers Network TM and serial Entrepreneur. When I reflect on our relationship, I think there are three qualities that have made our mentoring relationship so successful:


A good mentor is honest and direct, and a good mentee accepts that this honesty is coming from a good place. It’s important to note that honesty is only possible where there is trust. You have to have trust in the relationship in order for the mentor to feel comfortable with being honest and for the mentee to be able to get beyond the initial discomfort of having weaknesses exposed. Only then will the mentee be able to incorporate the mentor’s guidance, change how he or she is operating, and grow. When Jim decided to take me on as a mentee, and simultaneously, when I decided to accept his mentorship, we were both starting from a place of truth. We were honest about our ability to put in the time and to trust one another — two qualities I believe are most important for a successful mentorship.

Guiding vs. telling

A good mentor provides guidance to help the mentee make the best possible decision on his or her own. When someone comes to you and asks for your mentorship, I think it’s easy to find yourself trying to solve his or her problem by sharing how you would handle a situation, but that doesn’t really help the mentee improve. Jim had a great way of guiding me by asking me key questions that allowed me to arrive at the solutions. This helped me hone my critical thinking skills and build confidence in my own abilities.


A good mentor challenges you to think bigger. Whenever I arrived at a solution, Jim would always push me to think beyond the obvious and take it further to really innovate. He taught me that leading is not just solving for the immediate need, but also anticipating the future. This big – picture thinking is what is expected of leaders and crucial to anyone wanting to move into a leadership position. By pushing me to think bigger, Jim helped me develop the skills I needed to succeed.

Overall, a good mentor will be your biggest champion and your toughest critic. A mentor is not a manager—

a mentor is a trusted advisor who helps you work through challenges, develop innovative solutions, and ultimately elevate your career. I think finding a mentor or accepting to be a mentor or mentee has to be an honest decision. You need to have the time and it needs to be the right person. Sometimes it just happens organically, but it needs to start from a place of truth.

 What to Look For In A Mentor by Donna Bellacera

Donna Bellacera

Donna Bellacera

Donna Bellacera is Founder & CEOof Mastery for Women
Successful Thinkers Network, Inc
December 2012 – Present Sacramento
Mastery for Women is a division of Successful Thinkers Network™, where building relationships is the key. Our groups are designed to foster a sense of community where we, as women, can grow.

It is a call to action, a movement, a safe place where women can support each other to reach their goals and desires that tug at their hearts and souls.

It is more than just socializing – we provide a blueprint for making the lives of others better and in the process enriching our own lives. We have just begun!

We can serve one another best by putting our egos aside, by listening to one another and by supporting one another. We are a sisterhood sharing together.

Mastery for Women is dedicated to providing the tools necessary to help reach out and welcome more women into our family. We are a family of supporting, building and mentoring. We are all beautiful, intelligent and all have something to contribute.
Donna Bellacera


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