Mentoring: resolving problems
Mentoring relationships may not work out for several reasons. For example:
- time - the mentor may become involved in other projects, thus taking up time set aside for mentoring
- personality clash - there could be a clash of personalities, when the mentor and mentee fail to agree on the objectives of their relationship
- goals - the mentee could become frustrated that their goals are not being achieved
How to resolve problems with a mentoring relationship
You should devise a procedure for dealing with a failing mentoring relationship that creates the minimum amount of disruption to work or bad feeling from either party. Mentors and mentees should be made aware from the beginning of the programme that they should inform you if problems develop.
Methods of resolving issues include:
- encouraging the pair to resolve their differences by setting up a meeting where they can discuss their issues - and with a mediator present if necessary
- setting up separate support groups for mentors and mentees
- if the pair cannot resolve their differences, don't force them to work together and instead find a new mentor for the mentee
If you find that a mentor proves to be incompatible with two or more mentees, you might need to reassess their suitability for such a role. Equally, mentees who are not compatible with more than one mentor may have wider problems that should be addressed.
In order to give the mentor clear feedback about what they might do differently and what they did well, you should try to find out from the mentee why they wanted to end the relationship.