2c. Establish Expectations of Your Mentor’s Role in the Relationship

The figure below provides an illustrative list of mentors’ roles, effective behaviours, and detracting behaviours:

Advisor

Effective 

  • Acts as a sounding board and facilitator
  • Maintains privacy/confidentiality

Ineffective

  • Fixes problems
  • Assumes responsibility for mentee

Protector

Effective

  • Supports, is a safety net
  • Ensures a safe environment to take risks

Ineffective

  • Fights mentee’s battles
  • Overprotects

Developer

Effective

  • Gives structure and direction
  • Provides guidance based on observations during interactions with mentee
  • Empowers mentee to handle his/her problems independently

Ineffective

  • Dictates, controls learning
  • Looks for quick-fixes
  • Provides general criticism or judgment
  • Tells mentee what to do

Broker

Effective

  • Identifies skill or competency gaps through a “third party” lens
  • Identifies and facilitates development opportunities

Ineffective

  • Allows for personal biases
  • Abdicates, does not follow up

Challenger

Effective

  • Positively provokes, pushes toward highest standards
  • Helps mentee explore potential career opportunities

Ineffective

  • Pushes too far too soon
  • Discounts mentee’s thoughts and opinions

Clarifier

Effective

  • Teaches organizational values and politics

Ineffective

  • Removes obstacles so mentee does not have to deal with organizational politics

Affirmer

Effective

  • Gives needed support, enhances self-esteem
  • Exhibits empathy and understanding

Ineffective

  • Gives too much feedback
  • Discounts mentee’s feelings or concerns

Sponsor

Effective

  • Provides visibility and recognition of mentee

Ineffective

  • Promotes mentee at the expense of others
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