Personal mentoring is one of the best ways to grow both in your skills and abilities and as a person.
Yet, mentorship is built on a relationship and like other connections in our lives may have a positive or negative impact on us. However, it is sometimes difficult to tell whether we are just having some minor setbacks in our mentor-mentee relationship or whether it is time to find a new mentor.
One study shows that the most common problems between mentors and mentees are poor communication, lack of commitment and a mentor’s lack of experience.
Here are some things to watch for that may indicate you need to find a new mentor match.
- Communication problems. Communication is key to working together and if you are not able to communicate well with your mentor, it could be a sign that you need a change. Before you make a switch, it is important that you try to make things work. Talking about expectations is one way that you and your mentor can connect and find common ground. However, if the communication disconnect continues for too long it may be best to change your mentor. It is best to attempt to resolve communication issues within a few weeks rather than letting it drag on.
- Negative emotions. If the idea of meeting with your mentor causes you stress or anxiety that is a warning sign that it is not a good relationship. Some people can be difficult to work with and if that is the case with you and your mentor then you should switch. Your emotions are often a good gauge that something is not right. So, don’t ignore them.
- Bad influence. A mentor that is consistently complaining about the organisation, the leadership or others is not the best advisor for anyone. Mentors should have a positive outlook and be encouraging you to meet your goals rather than using your meeting time as a time to vent.
- Mismatched goals or skills. Despite the best efforts of our mentoring Coordinator some mentees are mismatched with a mentor. This can mean a personality clash or that the mentor does not have the skills that match your goals. Regardless of what the differences are between you and your mentor it is important to be clear about your goals or the skills you want to learn from the experience. This information can even help the mentoring Coordinator find a better match for you.
- Lack of feedback or support. Growth is an essential part of the mentoring experience. In order for it to be a productive experience, you need to be getting constructive feedback on a regular basis. Mentors that are not able to communicate well or who do not offer any guidance won’t help you grow. In the same way, a mentor that is too busy to meet with you often can be a red flag that the mentoring relationship will deteriorate.