Six Mistakes To Avoid When Mentoring

Six Mistakes To Avoid When Mentoring

Reached the stage in your career where you’re ready to mentor other IT pros? Paul Glen and Maria McManus from Leading Geek explain six common mistakes you should avoid — plus you can download a full ebook guide with even more hints and suggestions for effective mentoring.

Mentoring picture from Shutterstock

Why we mentor

Most technical leaders enjoy the thrill of meeting the demands of an ever-changing industry. In our environment, nearly everything is urgent. Change is constant. Technologies come and go. Processes, organizational structures, job descriptions and titles all rotate through a mix master of constantly shifting fads. And usually, we love it.

But for many managers there’s a less appealing side to this coin — the sense that nothing lasts, that everything we do rapidly turns to dust. There’s a sadness that comes with the realisation that all our work can be swept away in a matter of months.

So that leaves us asking, what can we do to have lasting impact on our organisations and industries? The good news is that you can leave a lasting mark, and there’s probably someone who can help you sitting somewhere outside your office door right now. You make an enduring difference through the people you choose to develop.

Common mentor mistakes

Sometimes, though, it’s hard to get started with mentoring other people. Here are a few common challenges:

Being overly humble — “Who am I to teach someone what to do?” This abdicates responsibility. If you have achieved a certain level of success, you must follow Spider Man’s motto: “With great power, comes great responsibility” even if you’re not quite sure you deserve it.

Making a Mini-Me — Develop their talents. Don’t try to turn them into a clone of you.

Taking disappointments personally — Not everyone will succeed. So don’t let setbacks get you down.

Overlooking the “Obvious” — Never assume that what’s obvious to you is obvious to someone else. If common sense were common, there wouldn’t be any problems in the world, right? Get in the habit of double-checking things that you assume they already know.

Getting distracted — Just because you have a busy job doesn’t mean you can ignore the people you are trying to develop.

Expecting them to come to you — They want to respect your time and probably will be afraid of bothering you, so you need to be explicit about making time for them.


Want the full guide? Free instant download

The complete guide from Leading Geeks includes:

  • Why mentoring is a valuable step in your career
  • A guide to predicting leadership success
  • Practical tips for effective mentoring

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