Reading Material

Common Difficulties

The mentoring relationship can be unproductive for both parties. Some problems and possible solutions are given below.

Deciding the appropriate level of contact, without appearing either indifferent or interfering and ensuring there is time for meetings

This may be best  solved by agreeing to meet fairly frequently during the early stages, by making appointments, discussing expectations and possibilities and by encouraging the mentee to agree an agenda by asking questions such as where shall we start ?”, “how are you getting on with … ?”, “have you come across this yet. ?”.

A mismatch of temperaments or personalities.

This is supposed to be a helpful relationship not a ritual. If this doesn’t work it is best to arrange for a new partnership with no recriminations. If the unhappiness/disenchantment is one-sided either party should be able to take the problem to whoever is responsible for allocating mentors.

The mentor feels that the mentee is incompetent or misguided, or behaving in a way which is professionally dangerous, and yet there is some duty of confidentiality

Any action taken will depend on how serious or destructive the problem is and whether the mentee is likely to take heed of direct advice given by the mentor. The mentor should be able to talk in confidence to other mentors for advice. The mentor must be prepared to insist that the mentee stops dangerous or destructive behaviour.