Pitfalls of Mentoring
Many instructors will
be mentoring formally for the first time. Mentoring is
an acquired skill, some even say an art form. It is better
to prepare for all worse case scenarios before they happen in order to
keep the program a positive experience for all involved. Some of
the more common problems are the lack of understanding of one's role in
the mentoring relationship and poor communication.
mentoring should include mentors who are aware of the common pitfalls of
Mentors should be accessible and open, yet they are not necessarily
a buddy. In time, a mentor and mentee may become friends, but
at the outset a close, personal relationship is not assumed.
Characteristics" from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center)
- The mentor's role
with the struggling teacher is complex and involves a "Thin Chalk Line"
that may not be crossed.
- Suggestions for
improvement must be couched in language that supports without criticism. ("That
Thin Chalk Line: Mentor Boundaries in Balance" by Dale E. Pforr)
- "It is easy to fall into the trap of having all the answers.
Dispensing information is often required; it's quick and easy and may
make you feel good about yourself as a mentor. But if you only
give advice, much of it fails to stick" ("Mentoring
Skills" from the Faculty Mentoring Resources at the University of
mentoring relationships, all parties should clarify their expectations.
shows that effective mentoring can be done in as little as two hours
Benefits and Responsibilities" from the Faculty Mentoring Resources
at the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh)
- "No longer based
on the leader-follower hierarchy, mentoring is becoming a two-way relationship
where both parties learn, share, question, challenge, and change.
The foundation of these growth-enhancing activities is a relationship
of mutual trust." ("The
Trust Factor" from the Faculty Mentoring Resources at the University
of Wisconsin, Oshkosh)
- Mentoring is a one-to-one relationship which is outside the normal
hierarchical structure. ("Guidance
on Mentoring" from the University of Sussex at Brighton
good listening skills is essential to good mentoring.
Skills" from the Faculty Mentoring Resources at the University
of Wisconsin, Oshkosh)
and receiving feedback are the most important skills in the mentoring
role. If done well it can help to develop an open and trusting
relationship which benefits both parties. If done badly or not
at al it encourages attacking and defensive behavior and causes people
to take up positions from which it is then difficult to move them."
El Paso Community College Mentoring Partnerships Guidelines
This is a training resource for mentors and mentees, designed to help
them assess needs and set goals, establish roles, and set expectations.
Also found here: The Sixteen Laws of Mentoring; suggested
activities for mentoring partnerships, and mentor/mentee questionnaires.
Strategies for Success in Mentoring:
A Handbook for Mentors and Proteges
This comprehensive manual from the Association of Professional Engineers,
Geologists, and Geophysicists of Alberta (APEGGA) includes a chapter
on diagnosing and solving problems within a mentoring relationship.
Well worth your time!
Strategies for Effective Mentoring
According to this site on building informal mentoring relationships
(from the University of Minnesota Extension Service), there are five
key areas of guidance a mentor can provide: personal development, communication
skills, creative problem solving, dealing with uncertainty and political
Obstacles in a Mentoring Relationship from
the Quartermaster Warrant Officer
This section of the Guide will
help you identify potential roadblocks to success in the mentoring relationship.
Abbreviated Mentoring Guide
Although developed for the military medical service corps, this guide
contains a very good section on mentor roles.
"Moving from Telling to Empowering"
Jim Perrone discusses why letting your protege struggle can sometimes
be the best lesson of all.
"Be Strategic about Mentoring"
Linda Phillips-Jones briefly explores things you must consider before
establishing a mentoring program: organizational support, potential
champions, positioning of the program, level of formality, delivery
modes, and potential roadblocks to success.