Finding a mentor right for you
How to tell if my mentee/mentor is a right fit and what to do if they’re not.
You will most likely have a strong intuition as to whether or not your mentor/mentee is a good fit for you and it’s important that they are. It’s also important to accept that people are complex and our relationships with one another rely on a lot of different factors from personality to our unique ways of communicating.
How to tell if your mentor is a good fit
If you feel that your mentor may not be a good fit for you, first answer the following questions:
Do you feel comfortable when meeting with your mentor?
Does your mentor give you advice that motivates/inspires you?
Are you being challenged in a positive way by your mentor?
Does your mentor give you constructive feedback or recognition?
Is it difficult to arrange sessions/connect with your mentor?
If the answer to most of these question is ‘no’, the likelihood is the mentorship is not a good fit.
How to tell if your mentee is a good fit
If you feel that your mentee may not be a good fit for you, first answer the following questions:
Does your mentee frequently postpone or cancel meetings?
Do you feel your mentee has unclear or unrealistic goals and expectations?
Does your mentee get overly defensive when you give them feedback?
Does your mentee
If the answer to most of these questions is ‘yes’, the likelihood is the mentorship is not a good fit.
What to do if your mentor/mentee is not a good fit
Honesty really is the best policy, so first, try talking with your mentor/mentee and letting them know where you don’t think the relationship is working. Be empathetic and consider their perspective. Understand that they may also find the relationship is not working for completely different reasons. Don’t get too defensive, make sure you listen to each other and give yourself time to go away and digest the conversation before coming to a decision on your next steps. Your next steps may be to both work on the areas brought up in the discussion, or the next step may be to end the mentorship. Either way, it’s important you remain professional contacts, make sure you don’t burn any bridges with each other.
Sometimes personalities just don’t fit well. In this instance, it can be hard to convey this through a conversation without hurting the other person. Be aware of this and instead of delving into character assassination, try to agree with one another that the personalities just don’t fit well for mentorship.
When choosing a new mentor, try to choose someone you would love to chat with over coffee, perhaps invite that person for an informal meeting before sending them a mentorship request. Having a mentor with similar interests and career goals will create a level of comfortability that can take you to the next level so make sure to use the search function and consider your ‘recommended connections’.