Dealing With Possible Mentoring Problems

In some mentoring relationships, things do not go exactly as planned or expected. Try to remedy problems as soon as possible.

Poor Chemistry

It is not realistic to expect every mentor and mentee to instantaneously bond and become very close. If you do not feel comfortable discussing some issues with your mentor, try to focus on what you can learn from that person and look for other informal mentors for other needs.

*For S.T.E.P. 1:1 participants : If you try and still feel you are getting nothing from the relationship, let the program administrator know.

Unrealistic Expectations for Mentors or Mentees

Occasionally, mentors expect too much from mentees; both parties need to realize that the other person is busy and be appreciative of whatever they get from the relationship. You should not expect your mentor to "make your career" or give you all the answers. Mentors are one source of advice and encouragement; no one should rely on one person for everything.

Lack of Commitment

If your mentor seems unresponsive for a long period of time, send another email assuming he/she is just busy. If you still don't get a response, then write or call again, asking if something is wrong.

*For S.T.E.P. 1:1 participants: Notify the program administrator if you are unable to get any response. Although everyone is committed at the start of the program, unexpected events can occur that cause someone to withdraw from the program.

Jealousy on the Part of Others

Occasionally, someone else (another student or someone you work with) may hear about the great things a mentee is getting from their mentoring experience. We encourage you to share whatever you are discussing with your mentee/mentor; this will reduce jealousy and increase the sharing.

Giving Effective Feedback | Mentoring Manual Table of Contents

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