When You Fail To Mentor

I’ve thought about this post for a few weeks now. After failing to successfully mentor someone, it can be hard to admit it and harder still to accept it. This isn’t necessarily a fault of myself nor the person to mentor either. That’s hard to see when you are someone who wants to help everyone.

Here are some reasons you could fail:

1. The person you are attempting to mentor is not ready or is in the wrong industry.

Let’s face it, not everyone should be a leader. We can’t have that structure in the workplace because frankly, the workplace will fail. We must have those that simply “want to get the job done”, creative thinkers, and fantastic workers. There are a lot of reasons why a mentoree may not be in a place either maturity-wise or skill set-wise. That’s okay. It takes courage to admit it and takes greater courage to be willing to either step out of the role or work towards it.

Maybe the mentoree is in the wrong industry. Some are business tycoons, when may they are better suited to be in a band. Self-evaluation is important on all levels but especially for the person who is being mentored.

If you are a fish, it’s better to swim in the ocean than attempt to fly like a bird.

2. They do not respond to your Brand of Leadership

We all have one and not every leadership ability (no matter how great), will work for everyone. If the relationship won’t work then there may not be much that you or the mentoree to do other than find a new mentor or leave the place of business. This isn’t bad or wrong; it simply is.

3. They have too much “stuff” blocking the works

People are messy. They have hang ups, pasts, and insecurities. All of us do. All of us at some point either work on them and heal or don’t. Sometimes people don’t and that can cause a lot of issues when attempting to learn and grow as a leader. If you have a story of origin that is stopping you, don’t be afraid to address it. Get therapy, talk to people, work it out. It’s okay that you do and it’s okay to not let it stop you.

So if you “fail” as a mentor, evaluate what you did. Get feedback and take a hard look at yourself. But don’t put the full blame on yourself either if the blame isn’t meant to go there. Sometimes things just don’t work out even if we want it to. Learn from it and move on.

Featured image credited to: www.lessingflynn.com



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