Shattering Seven Mentorship Myths

Success Strategies
Manager Employee Relationships

As the workplace becomes more diversified with varying ages, cultures, and beliefs, the arsenal of tools at your disposal to become the best person you can be expands. While some of the tools are newer, some have been around for some time.

Mentoring is one of them!

It may seem like an old-school concept, but developing a mentorship with someone can be beneficial for personal and professional growth. Ditch those preconceived notions about mentoring as we debunk the top seven myths surrounding mentorships.


Mentorships Are One-Way Streets

It’s expected that if you’re the mentee, you’re learning (or at least you should be!). But the truth is, even if you’re mentoring a colleague or friend, you can learn a vast amount about your job, your environment, and even yourself.

Mentoring is not just a one-way street. Learning occurs across all levels. Because we live in an ever-changing world, mutual mentoring has become more popular. If you are in charge of workplace mentoring, try to pair employees who have personalities that will jive well together. Focus on teaching employees to have an open mind.

By pairing or grouping accordingly in a mentorship, mentors and mentees will learn from one another!


Mentoring Is Only For Professional Reasons

While many times in the workplace you’ll seek out a mentor, you also can (and probably should) find a mentor to help you in your personal life. Professional mentoring tends to be more about career growth, but personal mentoring goes much deeper.

Many people confuse personal mentorships with counseling or life coaching, but mentoring and coaching are not defined the same way. Mentorships are longer-term relationships rather than a relationship that is primarily task-driven. While coaching and mentoring are both beneficial, they’re very different.

Maybe you want to become a better creative writer – seek out a mentor who can help you grow! Whatever your hobby is, don’t be afraid to find someone in your community. Or if you just need help with work/life balance, pick a friend you admire to help you out.


Mentors Don’t Need Mentoring

Once you start mentoring someone, your own development shouldn’t be put on hold. In order to be a great mentor, you have to grow, too.

Don’t be complacent in your own learning. No matter how you’re trying to improve your life, bringing on a mentor even while you’re mentoring someone yourself is not a bad idea.

Seek out a mentor for yourself, but make sure you go about it the right way!


Mentorships Are Only One-On-One Relationships 

Just because there is already one mentee and one mentor doesn’t mean you can’t have more than one of each in a relationship grouping. Learning directly from one person is beneficial, but you don’t want to rely on just one perspective.

If you’re in a workplace mentorship, try to have a handful of mentors who can guide you. Or, if you feel more comfortable around peers, bring them into the group. Putting all of your heads together and learning about one another and the perspectives you all bring to the table will help you all advance in your career and maybe even your own personal life.


Mentors and Mentees Can’t Be The Same Age

The old school of thought regarding mentoring revolved around having one well-advanced and established person, usually who was older, mentoring a younger colleague. However, in the age of technology, the mentoring world has shifted.

While mentoring Millennials in the workforce can be a powerful tool to retain them as valuable employees, Millennials also can mentor seasoned employees and provide them with new insights on technology, communication and much more.

If you’re looking for a mentor, instead of looking up at the veteran employees all of the time for assistance, look to your right and left. Chances are, you’re sitting next to a peer closer to your age who can give you great insight for your career and who can mentor you for the journey to come.


Mentoring Can’t Be Fun

Traditional mentoring meetings like coffee or grabbing lunch is fine, but after a few weeks, those meet ups will become boring. The goal of mentoring is to establish a relationship over time, and if you’re both bored, you’ll never get there. And we all know breakups are the hardest, so let’s try to avoid them.

Find what hobbies you both have in common, or if you’re feeling brave, try out a new one that your mentor or mentee enjoys. You never grow if you’re inside your comfort zone, so get out there!


Mentorships Takes Way Too Much Time

Look at mentoring the same way you look at going to the gym – you either do it or you don’t, simple as that. Everyone has the same twenty-four hours in a day, it just depends on how you use those twenty-four hours.

If you prioritize mentoring and invest a few hours each week, it’s not that time consuming. Make mentoring a priority to give back and expand your skills and knowledge!