Mentorship: 4 Proactive Ways to Tackle Challenges 

January is National Mentoring Month, and the Express Blog has launched a new series called The Value of Mentorship for leaders and job seekers. This is part four of the 12-part series, so check back for new weekly installments!  

A mentorship can be a great relationship to foster in your career journey. Like most relationships, mentorships have their ups and downs. Whether you’re the mentor, mentee, or someone looking to establish this relationship in the future, there may be some challenging moments you have or will encounter. Here are a few potential obstacles to mentoring and ways to get past them so your mentorship stays positive and beneficial to everyone involved. 

1. Mentorship Challenge Knowing What to Discuss in Meetings 

Situation: Understanding and establishing goals as a mentee is an effective way to focus future meetings. If mentoring goals aren’t clear, it can lead to confusion and misguided focus on where support and feedback is needed. 

Solution: Mentors should ask baseline questions. After discussing these questions and reviewing the information, create an agenda to hold everyone accountable. Allow for flexibility in the mentorship if goals change. 

2. Mentorship Challenge – Time Management Issues  

Situation: Both parties have responsibilities and obligations in their personal and professional lives. There may be times when you’ve both planned to meet, but scheduling conflicts may force you to postpone or cancel. Ongoing time management issues could cause a rift in the mentorship and indicate that one or both parties may not be fully committed. 

Solution: Effective communication is essential when dealing with time management conflicts. When creating a mentorship schedule, consider how you intend to interact and communicate regularly. Time-blocking can also be used to ensure that everyone is committed to the mentoring meetings. If a mentee has time management issues it could be a skill to help them develop. 

3. Mentorship Challenge – Overdependence  

Situation: A mentor’s role in mentoring is to provide support and feedback to the mentee. When the mentee relies too heavily on the mentor’s approval when making decisions, the mentorship could become overdependent. Growth and development could be hindered and also drain the mentor’s time and energy. 

Solution: It’s important for mentors to offer advice and suggestions to help the mentee develop, while also encouraging self-reliance and independence. A mentee should trust their own judgment, and once a decision is made, they can discuss the outcomes with their mentor as needed.  

4. Mentorship Challenge – Incompatibility  

Situation: Despite your best efforts, if excessive conflict remains unresolved, it may indicate that the mentor-mentee relationship isn’t a good fit.  

Solution: If the mentorship is an ineffective match, it may be time to go separate ways. The mentorship can mutually end if this is one you didn’t establish through your employer’s mentorship program. If your company assigned you a mentor or mentee, speak with the program manager to determine how to end the mentorship. 

Maximize your mentorship by tackling any challenges you may be facing head-on.  

Check out previous posts from the Express Blog’s Value of Mentorship Series:  

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