Are You Making These MENTORSHIP Mistakes?

Wentors
4 min readApr 23, 2024

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Mentorship is a powerful catalyst for professional growth, but seasoned experts aren’t immune to missteps.

So, if you’ve decided to take on the role of a mentor. Kudos! Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a newbie, just know that mentorship is sometimes graceful, sometimes awkward, but always full of learning.

But guess what? Even the most experienced mentors trip up occasionally. So, let’s talk about those subtle missteps and how you can overcome them.

1. Over-emphasizing Directive Guidance

Even the most seasoned mentors over-emphasize directive guidance out of a genuine desire to help their mentees avoid mistakes and succeed.

However, step-by-step instructions and outlining every detail leads to an unhealthy dependency, leading to micromanagement, mentee demotivation, curbing productivity, and impeding their capacity to independently tackle complex situations.

Instead, ask open-ended questions such as, “What do you think would be the best course of action?” or “What options have you considered?”.

Encouraging mentee autonomy and decision-making foster the significant benefits below:

  • Instills a sense of responsibility and engagement.
  • Empowers mentees to learn from both their successes and failures.
  • Create self-reliance and improve confidence and decision-making skills.

Here’s a Tip: Shift from a directive to a facilitative approach, prioritizing mentee autonomy and decision-making to promote personal and professional growth.

2. Neglecting the Power of Storytelling

Facts and figures are cool, but you see stories? They’re the secret sauce. Mentors often forget that storytelling is not just for bedtime, it’s mentorship superpower.

Sharing personal anecdotes, both successes and failures, creates a connection. Imagine sitting in a gathering, saying, “Let me tell you about the time I messed up big time”.

That alone already calls for attention and connection. Vulnerability breeds trust, and trust is the soil that mentorship blossoms on.

3. Undervaluing Proper Mentor Training

Despite their field expertise, even accomplished mentors undervalue the importance of proper mentor training.

This misconception stems from the idea that professional prowess is enough to mentor others effectively, which is not always the case.

Being a mentor requires not just knowledge, but communication skills, empathy, and patience, and Insufficient mentor training leads to a mentor struggling to establish a constructive learning environment, failing to set clear expectations, or imposing their own goals onto the mentee.

Such issues confuse and decrease motivation.

This is what you need to do: Invest in comprehensive mentor training, focusing on effective communication, goal-setting, feedback provision, and conflict resolution. Emphasizing emotional intelligence in training will also greatly enhance the mentorship experience.

4. The “Know-It-All” Trap

Being a seasoned mentor sometimes leads to an unintended pitfall; the “know-it-all” syndrome.

But Beware! falling into it the know-it-all hinders effective mentorship, when you act by like the oracle of Delphi, your mentee will hesitate to share their own insights or ask questions.

They’ll think, “Why bother? The mentor knows everything!” But guess what? You don’t.

So, here’s the secret: Be curious. Ask your mentee about their experiences, ideas, and perspectives. It’s like turning into a new radio station — you discover melodies you never knew existed.

5. Adopting a One-size-fits-all Approach

Driven by a desire for efficiency or a belief in a universally successful mentoring style, mentors apply a generic methodology to all mentees, given the diversity in individual strengths, weaknesses, aspirations, and learning styles, a uniform approach overlooks each mentee’s unique needs, leading to a disconnect that stifles their potential.

However, by personalizing the mentorship approach to meet individual needs, mentors should significantly enhance engagement and commitment.

This approach allows mentee’s unique strengths to flourish while addressing their specific weaknesses, cultivating a more enriching mentorship experience.

6. Ignoring the “Whole Person” Approach

Mentoring is not a one-dimensional game, and It’s not just about career goals, résumés, or LinkedIn endorsements. Nope. It’s about the whole person dreams, fears, hobbies, and lifestyle included.

So, don’t be the mentor who only talks spreadsheets and deadlines. Ask about their passions, their weekend adventures, and their favorite thing. When you see the whole person, you mentor the whole package both hear and mind.

So, to the mentor-in-the-making, remember one thing “Mentorship isn’t a checklist” it’s a reciprocal journey. As you guide others, you’ll also learn and grow.

So embrace the missteps, twirl through the challenges, and walk toward growth, both theirs and yours. And note, if you stumble, just grab your mentee’s hand and keep grooving.

The Wentors community is a good place to start seeking relationships as it provides a wealth of resources, including mentorship, networking opportunities, and learning and development programs.

Join us in the community [https://birdsend.page/forms/3690/EJLgReehgS] and let’s build something amazing together!

We are rooting for you!!

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Wentors

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