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Blog Posts


Watch Out For These Signs Of A Bad Mentoring Relationship

Posted on June 15, 2018
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There’s nothing worse than a bad mentoring arrangement. Already strapped for time and zapped of energy, you shouldn’t be devoting yourself to anything that’s not of value — both to you and your mentee — especially given your hard-earned talent, skills, and experience.

But how do you spot those bad mentoring relationships? How do you know when one’s just plain not working?

Here are some signs your mentoring arrangement’s gone sideways — and that it may be time to invest yourself in something new:

  • There’s an overall lack of structure. Do you find yourself struggling for things to talk about when meeting with your mentee? Do you jump from topic to topic aimlessly, without any sense of direction? Are you both just winging it? Each mentoring session should build off the last and serve as one portion of an overall larger conversation — a larger journey toward a very specific goal the mentee has in mind. If your meetings aren’t on a consistent pathway and seem aimless, structureless or freeform, both you and your mentee will waste time and energy. Go into your mentoring relationship — and each individual meeting within it — with a very specific goal in mind, as well as a plan on how to reach it.
  • The mentee has lost interest or passion. Your mentee may have been gung-ho and excited at the start, but has the honeymoon period started to wear off? Are they showing up late? Are they not as engaged, with fewer questions or issues to discuss? Are they relying on you fully to set the agenda and schedule the meetings? If so, it’s time to talk with your mentee. Chances are, the fit’s not right — and you may want to move on to a mentee more eager to utilize your skill set.
  • The mentee’s not getting what they need. It’s very important to have regular check-ins with your mentee — not just to have those weekly or monthly sessions, but also to ensure they’re getting what they want out of the relationship. Ask them directly if they’re getting value out of your arrangement and if it’s helping them meet their goals. If they can’t describe concretely what value they’re getting — or if they say they’re getting none at all — then the arrangement isn’t helping anyone. Reevaluate whether it’s a good use of your time and consider finding a new professional to mentor in their stead.

Truly great mentoring arrangements are hard to come by — and that’s because many mentee-mentor relationships are established through forced, required in-house programs that match ill-fitted parties together.

Want to better use your skills, experience and limited time?

Consider a platform like iConnectX, where mentees seek out experienced executives and subject matter experts just like you — and they’re willing to pay for it. The best part? Those fees go straight to the charity of your choice, so you’re not only training better pros for tomorrow — you’re also helping the community around you.

Sign up for iConnectX today and see for yourself.