3 Signs a Mentoring Relationship is Not Working

January 10, 2019

If youíve been in a mentoring relationship that didnít end well, then you can probably understand the consequences it has for participants and the organization. Itís important to recognize these signs early so the program doesnít lose credibility and participants in every mentoring relationship stay engaged.

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Here are 3 signs that a mentoring relationship isnít working out:

The Mentee Isnít Getting the Feedback They Need

A successful mentoring relationship relies on feedback from both participants. However, the menteeís success depends on the feedback he or she receives from their mentor. If the mentee isnít receiving any feedback, thatís a red flag. If theyíre only receiving positive feedback, thatís a red flag.

If this is a common issue in the mentoring relationship, have the mentee push for constructive feedback from their mentor by asking open-ended questions:

  • How am I doing?
  • What areas do I need to improve on?
  • How would you do this differently?

If the mentee is finding it difficult receiving feedback from their mentor, itís time for a change.

Participants Arenít Motivated

The mentoring relationship and motivation can sometimes be tough to get right. The first step to achieving motivation is to get participants interested. A couple of ways to do this are by having the mentor challenge the mentee with new ideas or by discussing the menteeís strengths and weaknesses.

The next step is to promote the participant benefits from the mentoring relationship and remind them that these benefits are attainable as long as they put in the effort.

 Letís say the mentor chooses to address the menteeís strengths and weaknesses.  The mentor can explain that through the mentoring relationship, the mentee has the opportunity to improve these skills. In turn, there is opportunity for recognition or advancement in the organization.

If you find that a mentoring relationship lacks motivation, remind participants to communicate their expectations with each other and aim for goals one step at a time.

Clashing Personalities

A menteeís worst fear is being in a relationship in which they feel like they canít talk to their mentor. This fear can become reality when an incompatible mentor match is made. By this, we mean that participants have clashing personalities, values, experiences, or teaching/learning styles which can hinder the progress of the mentoring relationship.

A bad mentor match doesnít mean thereís a bad mentor or mentee. It means that there is a better match out there for both participants. A great way to ensure that there are compatible matches in the future is to introduce mentor matching software into the program.   

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