Myth #1: The mentor owns and manages the partnership.
Fact: Mentees are responsible for driving the relationship. While mentors can create structure around what they can offer, the mentee is responsible for scheduling the meetings and preparing ahead of time. The mentor is responsible for finding time to meet with his/her mentee and providing advice and feedback to assist the mentee in meeting their goals. Mentees should be willing to say, “This is why I chose you and this is what I hope to learn from you.”
Myth #2: You are either a mentor or a mentee – you either teach or you learn.
Fact: Mentoring is a reciprocal arrangement 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 to participate in another person’s professional and personal growth. Successful mentoring relationships are built on trust, respect, and the willingness of the mentor and mentee to learn from each other.
Myth #3: Mentoring partnerships are always a perfect match.
Fact: Not all matches are a great fit. It is the responsibility of both the mentor and mentee to communicate with each other if the relationship is not working well. If things are not working out for either of you, you can both respectfully agree to discontinue the mentoring relationship. This will not reflect negatively on either individual.
Myth #4: Mentoring is time consuming.
Fact: Mentoring is a partnership and requires dedicated time. However, you can optimize your time together by setting clear goals and honoring your meeting times. The mentor and mentee can agree on how often and how long to meet. Consider meeting over a coffee break, lunch, or invite your mentee to a meeting.
Myth #5: Mentoring partnerships last a lifetime.
Fact: Mentoring partnerships should last as long as needed for the mentee to achieve their goals. At the end of the agreed timeframe for the partnership, the mentor and mentee can decide to continue or end the partnership.
Myth #6: Mentoring is based on chemistry.
Fact: An effective and successful mentoring partnership is built on mutual respect, trust, and honesty. Both the mentor and mentee do not need to become friends.
Myth #7: Mentors are many years older than the mentee.
Fact: Mentors should be selected based on their professional experience, knowledge, skills, and abilities. Certain qualities come with age but not always. Keep in mind, younger mentors can offer insight to new technology such as social media and generational differences.
Myth #8: Mentoring meetings must be face-to-face.
Fact: Face-to-face meetings are not always the best option when considering mentoring outside of your geographical region. Also, the future is headed towards a virtual workforce. Once the mentor and mentee establish a solid foundation for the partnership, meeting via telephone or e-mail becomes an easier option.
Last revised: 1/29/2014