How to avoid 5 common traps for mentors


MENTOR, OH - OCTOBER 30:  A young supprter lis...

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According to Wikipedia the first recorded modern usage of the term can be traced to a book published in 1699 entitled “Les Aventures de Telemaque”, by the French writer François Fénelon. The book was very popular during the 18th century and the modern application of the term can be traced to this publication.

The modern use of the word mentor: a trusted friend, counselor or teacher, usually a more experienced person is sometimes implemented in “mentoring programs” in which newcomers often are paired with more experienced people, who advise them, help them advance their careers and build their networks in addition to serving as good examples of course. The “student” of the mentor is often referred to as the protege og mentee.

The practice of mentoring has become very popular in the workplace, especially among leaders and fast-trackers. However, there are some mistakes that can lead to unintended consequences, according to the Swedish management magazine Chef:
The parent trap
You should not take the role of a mother or father. Respect the mentees  ability tomake their own assessments. This is a relationship for learning, not obedience.

The driving force trap
The mentor’s ambitions on behalf of the mentee is larger than the mentees own ambitions.

The close friend trap
To agree and have a nice time is not the goal. You are not in the mentoring game in order to be  liked. Your task is to challenge the mentee, this includes asking some uncomfortable questions – in a

The manager trap
Unlike you do in your leadership role, it is not the responsibility of the mentor to solve the problems or make decisions for the mentee. Hold back on your zeal. Let the mentees develop the solutions themselves, but be there to support, suggest and challenge.

The love trap
Although this is a situation that is not too usual, if the mentor and the mentee are of different genders, it may cause speculation in the workplace. Be clear to your surroundings as to what the mentorship is and what it is not. If warm feelings start to surface; end the mentorship immediately.

Best regards,
Oystein
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