I am passionate about mentoring and cannot understand why some organisations allow behaviours from mentors that are destructive or corrosive. Not only do these behaviours undermine the mentee and diminish their trust with the organisation, they send a message that the mentor’s behaviour is condoned. The following is a recent example shared with me by a senior executive I am now mentoring.
A mentor was appointed by the organisation to address perceived gaps in the experience of the newly appointed executive. This was the first mistake – arbitrarily appointing a mentor without giving a choice to the person being mentored. It’s so important for a rapport to develop between the two for the mentor to be effective.
Mistake number two was not agreeing on the rules of engagement between the mentor and the company. In this case the mentee discovered that matters discussed during a mentoring session were reported back to his superior. This was entirely unethical on behalf of the mentor, and shouldn’t have been condoned by the CEO. The probable motivation of the mentor was to ingratiate himself with the CEO to gain more business in the organisation. The mentee had a discussion with the CEO and it was agreed that a new mentor would be found who would meet the gap criteria and clear guidelines would be agreed by all concerned.
There are lots of tips in my little book Finding the Magic in Mentoring the Get Naked Approach. You will see how to avoid traps, and view clear processes to agree on mentoring outcomes.