Feb 21 , 2023

CEO Minute: Being an Excellent Mentor...Here’s H.O.W.

Heide Olson, Founder & CEO, All In One Accounting

Mentoring Monday events happen every year, giving women attendees a chance to speed mentor with female business leaders from 40 different industries. In preparation for this year’s event, it makes sense to share a few thoughts with those that cannot attend.

The mentee-mentor relationship entails work, that’s true.

Both sides need to be active listeners, give constructive feedback, and be flexible as the relationship progresses. For the mentoring you offer to have lasting value, consider this acronym: H.O.W. Honesty. Openness. Willingness.


The hardest thing to say sometimes is “I don’t know,” but it can be a starting point. Being candid about your knowledge, about their responses, and about the work creates an environment for trust and integrity to exist and flourish.


When working from a nonjudgmental foundation, you’re able to go into those uncomfortable areas of growth. Sometimes you are tackling fears that have held good business decisions back. Your acceptance or receptiveness to helping your mentee change or uncover new ideas, gives them permission to do the same.


You are successful in your career. Sharing that expertise with others is the hallmark of a great mentor. And with that, willingness means being in that state of readiness to do something that is needed, like networking, finding resources, devoting time to developing others. A pay it forward on your business acumen that helps your mentee avoid the pitfalls.

H.O.W. to be a great mentor. It isn’t always easy. But it is rewarding for both parties concerned!

Booker T. Washington offered this sage advice, “If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.” It’s the natural extension of a good mentoring relationship and is so rewarding.

If you are interested in being a mentor, or being mentored, there are so many good organizations to help you get connected. Or check out the Bizwomen Mentoring Monday events happening all around the country. Follow along on Twitter at #mentormonday.