Mentoring is a two-way street. Neither the mentor nor mentee should feel as if it is a waste of time. Instead, a mentee should feel that the mentor gives good counsel and the mentor should feel relevant and helpful.
As the mentor, if after several months you feel things aren’t going well, there are possible ways to salvage the relationship. CareerBuilder shares seven common mentorship challenges and possible ways to save the relationship.
1. Bad timing
The first couple of months in a new position can be overwhelming. Allow your mentee to get settled in their new role before getting started. Feel free to reach out and let them know you’re available to help when they are ready.
2. Lack of structure
Good mentorships require planning. Be sure to discuss goals, expectations and schedules with your mentee. This structure ensures you start the arrangement out on the right foot and both you and the mentee get what you want out of the mentorship experience.
3. Unclear role
A good mentor gives occasional advice, but isn’t responsible for overseeing daily activities. This could cause confusion about who the supervisor really is and the relationship could fall apart. If you’ve overstepped your bounds, pull back and reset expectations.
4. Clashing personalities
You and your mentee can still have a productive relationship even if you don’t agree on everything. However, if your personalities are incompatible it might not work. In this case, part ways amicably and help them find another professional mentor.
5. Unreceptive mentee
Oftentimes mentees don’t act on feedback and advice immediately. This doesn’t mean your recommendations for development and growth go unheard. Chances are, they are still finding their way in their career and will act on feedback in the near future. Actively ask your mentee for updates on the suggestions you have made and discuss plans for the future.
6. Your crazy schedule
A good mentorship requires dedication and consistent communication. Remember, you agreed to serve as a mentor, so it is important to make an effort and make time for face-to-face meetings regularly. Consider scheduling meetings far in advance and if you need to cancel, get another date on the calendar as soon as possible.
7. Your unrealistic expectations
The point of a mentorship is not to tell your mentee what to do. Instead a good mentor builds on the mentee’s strengths and skills and offers them guidance and direction along the way. If you have over shared or set unrealistic expectations, to improve the relationship give your mentee some space and reevaluate your approach.