By Jan Murray on Thursday 31st Aug 2017
Being in the company of a role model, a wiser head who can guide you through a period of
transition, can be very powerful. That is the power of a mentor.
Whether you are considering running a mentoring program, becoming a mentor or looking for a
mentor, it is important to understand not only the benefits but also the pitfalls that you need
to be aware of. Successfully navigate these and you could be on the way to a highly rewarding
In an article in Personnel Today Eleanor Lloyd Jones, regional branch co-ordinator for the
Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) outlined the findings of some research
on the effectiveness of mentoring among CIPD members.
"Where mentoring relationships worked, there was clarity of objectives.
It's important to know what the mentee wants and to agree this upfront; set boundaries and have
a clear end point," she advised. "It's easy for you to meet up with someone you get along with,
but if there is no clear focus the mentoring relationship will just drift."
Common Mentoring Mistakes
1. Not Setting Goals And Outcomes
Embarking on a mentoring relationship without goals is like setting off
on a journey without a destination in mind. How will you ever know when you have arrived?
Mentees need to have two or three clear goals and think about how they will be able to measure
them so they can say ‘I did it"
2. Not Setting or Following up Action Points
To prevent the mentoring process drifting, it is important that at the
end of every mentoring session the mentor and mentee ensure that action points have been
identified that will help the mentee progress towards achieving their goal. These action points
then need to be reviewed at the following meeting to ensure progress is made.
3. Not Defining An End Point
Right from the outset of the mentoring process it is important to discuss a realistic
timeframe. By making the process time-bound the mentoring is less likely to drift, as the
time to achieve the goals is clearly defined and can be measured and monitored.
Eleanor Lloyd Jones of the CIPD recommends a defined period of six months, a reasonably short
period that will give both parties the opportunity to focus.
4. Trying To Make a Mini-Me
As part of the mentor training the mentor needs to understand that
mentoring is not to clone a mini-version of themselves, it is about using their experience to
develop the talents of the mentee.
5. Overlooking the "Obvious"
Never assume that what's obvious to you is obvious to someone else. If
common sense were common, there wouldn't be any problems in the world, right? Both mentor and
mentee should get into the habit of double-checking their assumptions.
6. Believing Mentors Should Structure And Drive The Mentoring
While mentors have a role in structuring a formal mentoring
relationship based on their availability and what they want to offer, mentees are responsible
for driving the relationship and making clear from the outset what they want to learn from the
7. Believing Mentoring Is a One-Way Relationship.
Although it's not necessarily viewed this way, mentoring has always been a reciprocal
in which both the mentor and mentee learn and benefit from the relationship.
While mentee benefits may be more obvious, mentors gain as well. Mentors have the opportunity
reflecting on defining career moments, testing their long-held assumptions and participating
another person's professional and personal growth.
At PLD our e-mentoring programs are designed to provide practical guides to mentors and mentees
and to provide a roadmap to guide them through each step of the mentoring process, avoiding
potential mentoring mistakes and strengthening the mentoring relationship.
If you would like to find out more about running a mentoring program call 01625 251 055 or request a demonstration.