Mentoring should be hard work. Anything worth doing well usually involved some hard work. As you work hard to find, develop, and then nurture various mentoring relationships it´s important to pay attention. This means examining your mentoring relationships on a periodic basis to make sure they´re working, too. Don´t expect a mentor to find what´s wrong. On the other hand, be prepared to address any issues that might arise such as times to meet (are they convenient for everyone involved?), topics that are being discussed (are some subjects too controversial for a mentoring relationship?) and allotted time for get-togethers (do each of you commit enough time to the relationship?).
A successful mentoring relationship should be based on trust, chemistry, and comfort. These qualities will help you ask questions and share information with more ease. You´ll want to seek out mentors who are good listeners and will challenge you to take certain risks. If you hook up with a colleague or a supervisor, share information about your career with caution especially if your mentors work in competing companies. You wouldn´t want to jeopardize a relationship (or your company´s bottom line) by sharing information that´s proprietary.
As you assemble your mentoring squad (see my posts earlier in the week) you should know some things about yourself, too, before you become too entrenched in mentoring relationship. make sure you are secure in your knowledge of self. You don´t want to simply project what´s coming back to you. It´s fine to emulate others and set high expectations for yourself, but it´s wrong and unrealistic take on the precise qualities and characteristics of another person no matter how much you admire her. Mentoring s should enhance your growth and development-not chip away at your own character. Also, try not to think of mentoring as a fad-something you´ll try, grow tired of, and then finally abandon. Instead, take the long view and give yourself-and others-the chance to succeed.
Don´t be afraid to walk away from a mentoring relationship that isn´t working out. Some connections are not meant to last, and if you hang on too long you could lose interest in mentoring altogether. Consider these alliances as you might a friendship-you need to click on a personal level. And remember that no matter how strong the relationship becomes you must always be the author of your own dreams. Don´t expect a mentor to fill in the blanks. And since we often learn by teaching what we don´t know, think of your role in a mentoring squad as double-sided; you can be a mentor and be mentored at the same time.
Sometimes a mentoring relationship comes to a natural close and that´s okay, too. You might not even talk about it much. That may be too uncomfortable. But instead of dwelling on its end focus more on what you got out of the relationship and how, one day, you, too, can pass some advice on to someone else.