10 Things to Look for in a Protege

Posted by 2 April, 2009


This is the third part of a five part series.

1. Want to Be Successful? – Get a Mentor
2. 10 Things to Look for in a Mentor
3. 10 Things to Look for in a Protege
4. 5 Steps You Need to Take in Preparation of Being a Mentor/Protege
5. World’s Greatest Mentoring Relationships

There have been many great mentor/protege relationships. At least for me, it seems a protege is typically looking for a mentor to help obtain the goals they have set out, but that isn’t always the case. In fact, in 2007 Warren Buffett announced he was looking for a successor(s). This is a bit of a different circumstance than the typical mentor/protege relationship.

In the same vein that a protege looks for qualities in a mentor, a mentor could be looking for certain qualities in a protege. He or she may be want to pass on knowledge of a particular subject. If you think about it, it makes sense in the grand scheme of things. A person lives for let’s say, 75 years. Well, that is 75 years of experience that someone is walking around with. If the mentor worked hard and obtained success in his or her career, that is a lot of knowledge that they could pass onto a younger generation and help the younger generation shave time off of a potential learning curve. For the sake of man kind and progress, this mentor has not only allowed or at least laid down the ground work to obtain the same success that he or she achieved, but helped them in getting a leg up so that they can progress past the success of the mentor and in turn help society progress (hopefully in the right direction).

So, what should a mentor be looking for in a protege?

1. Motivated – A mentor wants someone who is motivated to succeed in whatever it is that they want to pursue. A mentor more than likely values his or her time and wants to use it wisely and thus on someone who will ACT on the knowledge passed down.

2. Time – A protege needs to be able to carve out time in their schedule. If the potential protege isn’t able to commit a meaningful amount of time, it’s time to look for a different protege.

3. Positive – It’s never any fun to work with someone that isn’t positive around you. The mentor should look for happy people. The protege should look at things in the context of the "glass is half full."

4. Respectful – You want a protege that is respectful of you and your time. A lot of people pay large sums of money to be mentored on anything from blogging to real estate investing (think late night infomercials).

5. Willing to Learn – This goes along with being motivated, but you can be motivated and still not willing to learn. "An investment in knowledge pays the best dividend." – Benjamin Franklin

6. Honesty – It’s a complete waste of time if the protege isn’t honest with you. I’ll stay with Benjamin Franklin with a quote on honesty: “Trickery and treachery are the practices of fools that have not the wits enough to be honest.”

7. Communication – The protege needs to be vocal in whether concepts are clear. The protege also needs to be able to vocalize his or her thoughts and help steer their development. The protege doesn’t need to be a gifted speaker or the most opinionated, but they need to be able to carry on a conversation.

8. Confidence – This isn’t a must, but it’s probably necessary to start out with some resemblance of confidence. People, mentors included, are just naturally attracted to someone who is confident and comfortable in their skin.

9 & 10. I didn’t want to add something just to add it so I’m curious if there is anything you would add. I’d like to get your input and I’ll finish it up based on the best suggestion.

Let’s hear your suggestions for 9 and 10!

Photo by Martin Kingsley

Other Posts

10 Things to Look for in a Mentor
Want to Be Successful? – Get a Mentor
5 Reasons Why You Should Have a Store Front
5 Reasons Why You Should NOT have a Store Front
Case Study: My Adventures in Forex Trading (Update: 3/16)


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Trackbacks & Pingbacks
April 3, 2009

I think this helpful on a couple of levels. You want to be a good protege, but if you are doing the mentoring, you want to work with someone who will truly benefit from your help.

Miranda’s last blog post..3 Stocks Benefiting from the Recession

Posted by Miranda
April 6, 2009

You have listed the traits well. After all, a person should be worthy enough to get the blessing.

A Bisht’s last blog post..Demographics of online newspaper reading Spanish internet users

Posted by A Bisht
April 13, 2009

@ Miranda – I agree. Personally, I’ve been looking for mentors so it’s been interesting to think about it from the other perspective.

@ A Bisht – Thanks for the comment!

Dustin’s last blog post..World’s Greatest Mentoring Relationships

Posted by Dustin
April 16, 2009

Great article!
I often inhabit the mentor role but your article has made me aware of why I chose to help certain people and not others.

It was a pleasure to stumble!

Posted by Mary / GoodlifeZEN
April 17, 2009

I agree that being motivated is one of the most striking qualities of a good protegee. 🙂

I loved this series Dustin! It’s so useful, and it really makes you think about how these mentor/mentee relationships are formed!

Nathalie Lussier’s last blog post..Gratitude Monday #2: Contests and Awards Edition

Posted by Nathalie Lussier
April 18, 2009

How about adding stamina? A protege would need to be willing to make a long term commitment and not give up at the first sign of struggle. Otherwise, the mentor’s time has been wasted and time is too valuable to waste.

Posted by carrie
September 3, 2009

I quite appreciate your contributions on mentor-protege relationship. I find them very useful. I think a protege should be selfless too – ready to sacrifice.

Posted by folami fawehinmi
January 4, 2010

A good protoge should have the following qualities:

1. He should not possess a “get rich quick” mentality, but instead be willing to work dilligently until whatever project he sets his mind to is complete, or until his time w you (his mentor) is done, and then beyond until he completes his project(s).

2. He should “pay it forward” to the next guy who needs help or a mentor, always remembering someone first helped him!

3. He should be creative as well as positive, always looking for ways to accomplish his projects at hand.

4. The protoge should be respectful to his mentor and others teaching him to learn. This does not mean he should give up his life and all his ideas, but it does mean he should take some of the ideas they suggest seriously, especially those reminding him to stay positive and to work through any and all problems.

5. A good protege should love what he is doing. He should love to learn about what he is doing from his mentor. He should love to learn what he is doing from books and other lit and videos. He should love to learn what he is doing from articles and blog posts and seminars. The protege should love what he is doing from hands on experience and from his mentor.

Finally, he should just LOVE the job he is being trained for! If not, he is in the wrong business!

Hope that helps some!
krissy knox 🙂
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Posted by krissy knox
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