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From A to Z: Mentoring quotes from inspiring leaders

We’re all aware of the benefits that come with mentorship. In fact, some of the most inspirational leaders of our time have had their lives and careers profoundly changed by receiving mentorship from others. To demonstrate this impact, we compiled a list of 20 powerful quotes about mentoring from a diverse group of leaders – from Maya Angelou to Ralph Waldo Emerson – listed in alphabetical order below. 

20 inspiring quotes about mentoring

1. “The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches but to reveal to him his own.” – Benjamin Disraeli, Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

2. Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin, Founding Father of the United States

3. “A mentor is someone who sees more talent and ability within you, than you see in yourself, and helps bring it out of you.” – Bob Proctor, Author, Speaker, and Motivational Coach

4. “What I think the mentor gets is the great satisfaction of helping somebody along, helping somebody take advantage of an opportunity that maybe he or she did not have.” – Clint Eastwood, Actor, Film Director, and Producer

5. “Show me a successful individual and I’ll show you someone who had real positive influences in his or her life. I don’t care what you do for a living—if you do it well I’m sure there was someone cheering you on or showing the way. A mentor.” – Denzel Washington, Actor, Director, and Producer

6. “Every single opportunity we’re presented with gives us an opportunity to learn, grow, be inspired — and share that with others.” – Gregory Wade, SVP of Strategic Partnerships at Trustonic

7. “I’ve learned a lot from mentors who were instrumental in shaping me, and I want to share what I’ve learned.” – Herbie Hancock, Pianist, Composer, and Actor

8. “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” – Isaac Newton, Physicist, Mathematician, and Astronomer

9. “My most valued mentor…taught me that failing didn’t equate to failure, it just meant you had another shot at getting it right.” Jennifer Hedding, VP and HR Business Partner at Northwestern Mutual

10. “My mentor said, ‘Let’s go do it,’ not ‘You go do it.’ How powerful when someone says, ‘Let’s!’” – Jim Rohn, Entrepreneur, Author, and Motivational Speaker

11. “Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.” – John C. Crosby, American Politician

12. “One of the greatest values of mentors is the ability to see ahead what others cannot see and to help them navigate a course to their destination.” – John C. Maxwell, Author, Speaker, and Pastor

13. “Colleagues are a wonderful thing – but mentors, that’s where the real work gets done.” – Junot Díaz, Author, Professor, and Pulitzer Prize Winner

14. “I’ve never had a woman who took me by the hand and said ‘Mary, you have a lot of potential. Let me help you get there.’ It drives me to be that person for others. I want to be that champion for women and the underdogs.” – Mary Bui-Pham, VP of Strategy and Operations at

15. “In order to be a mentor, and an effective one, one must care. You must care. You don’t have to know how many square miles are in Idaho, you don’t need to know what is the chemical makeup of chemistry, or of blood or water. Know what you know and care about the person, care about what you know and care about the person you’re sharing with.” – Maya Angelou, Poet, Memoirist, and Civil Rights Activist

16. “A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself. A mentor is someone who allows you to know that no matter how dark the night, in the morning joy will come. A mentor is someone who allows you to see the higher part of yourself when sometimes it becomes hidden to your own view.” – Oprah Winfrey, Talk Show Host, Producer, Author, and Philanthropist

17. “Our chief want in life is somebody who will make us do what we can.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essayist, Philosopher, and Poet

18. “Choose your mentors based on who you want to be. Mentors can reflect where you want to go, they can create access for you, and give you guidance as you plan your own personal development.” – Ranu Gupta, Talent and Technology Strategist and Transformational Leader

19. “The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.” – Steven Spielberg, Film Director, Producer, and Screenwriter

20. “We’re here for a reason. I believe a bit of the reason is to throw little torches out to lead people through the dark.” – Whoopi Goldberg, Actor, Comedian, and Television Personality

We hope these quotes illustrated the many benefits that come with mentoring. Whether it’s drawing out your hidden strengths or guiding you through tough decisions, mentors have the power to significantly improve your personal and professional life. If you’re looking for additional ways to better yourself as a leader, download 18 Leadership Books For Every Stage Of Your Career.