Mentorship is becoming more and more popular every day. As that happens, more people are realizing that it's an incredibly effective means of growth that is beneficial for both the mentee and the mentor.
Unfortunately, mentoring isn't so pervasive that everyone knows how to make sure a mentoring relationship is a success. So - even though mentorships are relatively flexible - here are 3 top mistakes that can cause mentorship relationships to fail. Read on so you can avoid making them!
Mistake #1: Not setting clear expectations from the beginning
The number one mistake is not setting expectations upfront. This leads to a misalignment of expectations. There might be a difference in how you approach mentorship vs how your mentoring partner does. It’s very important to talk about expectations right at the beginning of a mentoring relationship.
After that, of course, with time, the nature of the relationship can change. You might not need as many sessions as before. An ongoing mentorship can turn into an on-demand one - and it’s totally fine. In fact, at Upnotch we encourage it because it helps make sure your mentoring relationship is always working for you. However, the important thing before a shift like that occurs is that both parties are aware and agree.
At Upnotch we are modernizing mentorship to tailor it to each individual member's needs. That means you might be looking for a one-off conversation with an experienced professional in your field and not a traditional, long-term engagement. If that is the case, make sure your mentor knows it from the start.
And even if it's not - you should have a conversation upfront about the time commitment. How often are you going to meet? Where? In-person or online?
Not defining the nature of the relationship is the most common reason a mentorship fails and yet it's so easy to avoid. Make sure you’re on the same page as your mentoring partner.
Mistake #2: Not setting goals
Another big mistake is not setting goals. Even broad ones.
Without goals, you have nothing to work towards. On the other hand, if you share your goals and objectives in your first meeting, both parties will be aware of what is ultimately trying to be achieved. Note: This applies equally to both mentors and mentees and we actually recommend that you work together to define goals.
For example, what do you want help with? Are you looking for general career advice, or do you want to focus on specific areas? Do you have a specific challenge to overcome?
If you don’t have clearly defined objectives for your conversations, your mentorship will lack direction.
Mistake #3: Not making time for mentorship
Last but not least, lacking the time or not scheduling enough time for meetings. Make sure that you have the bandwidth to devote the time required before starting a mentorship. Try to plan for at least half an hour, ideally an hour for each session. And take the time to respond to your mentor/mentee’s emails or answer their messages within the boundaries you have set.
Set the basis for your mentoring success!