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And this includes both sides, mentors, and mentees.
Why would I claim that mentoring is not for you?
You see, it’s not that simple…
It’s definitely not a push-button solution, and each mentor-mentee relationship has a great chance to fail if you don’t understand yourself, first and foremost.
I recently had a mentoring engagement with an excellent example of a mentee.
She was so motivated and ambitious to achieve her goals that, that alone gave me more energy to mentor her as best as I possibly could.
However, things were not always that good in past mentoring engagements with mentees who weren’t that much interested about their own goals or didn’t fit my style of communication…and eventually, we had to drop it.
Critical elements of a mentoring relationship
1. Intentionality on both sides.
Usually what happens is either the mentee or mentor will commit to a relationship they never clearly understood in the first and as a result, the frequency of interaction during the early months of the engagement will fade out.
Very often mentors are so busy that they may commit to mentoring somebody and then never follow through.
A mentor who never responds can be very harmful because he or she may unintentionally convey to the mentee that they are not that worthy or significant.
2. Not aligned expectations.
Often times the mentor and mentee don’t work to align their expectations in regards with:
- what the relationship is going to be about
- what functions a mentor is going to provide
- how are they going to work together
- what the mentor’s role will be in the life of the mentee
- how often they are going to meet
What can improve the situation of a problematic mentoring relationship?
First and foremost, both parties need to be transparent and communicate, the reasons, clearly.
The mentor should consider if this engagement is something that he or she is interested to further pursue, in regards to the mentee relationship.
Often the mentor is very busy and commits to something he or she is not able to undertake, self-awareness is necessary.
The mentee on the other side should consider if he or she is really committed in the end result they are looking to obtain, from having a mentor.
Or if the mentor he or she chose is the right person for that engagement.
How to engage in mentoring relationships, with people who are different from you?
Usually, most experts recommend humility when you are involved in a mentorship relationship with differences in gender, differences in race, culture, sexual orientation.
You need to be really careful about approaching someone with a different set of experiences from your own.
On the other hand, it’s your own choice to make, and you can always decline a mentorship engagement if you feel that it’s something you don’t want to understand or invest time into.
Mentor or mentee, make sure you are 100% devoted to the relationship you are starting.