Being a mentor is a title that is earned, not given. I’m given the role of a student’s advisor. As that relationship develops, I hope to become a mentor. However, that outcome is ultimately determined by students, not me. It’s similar to how I talk about empathy with therapists-in-training. As a therapist you try to be empathic. But ultimately, the client evaluates whether you get there or not.
With that said, when trying to mentor, I keep in mind the goals, strengths, and challenges of each student. There is no “boilerplate” mentoring approach. I also recognize that mentors, like good therapists, need to know themselves well. They are aware of the types of students they may find easy to work with and those who are more challenging – and they do their best to create an environment where they can talk about what what is or may is not working.