There are great reasons why you should mentor someone. You really and truly want to help someone advance in their career and be their sounding board, and lead them through the trials and tribulations of your chosen career. However, there are also reasons why you should not mentor someone. Don’t do it if any of this is true.
- You Think They’re Sexy – If you think someone who asks you to be their mentor is sexy, don’t tell them and find someone else to be a better mentor. You don’t want to be tempted to break any rules or cross any lines in your relationship. Not only could you ruin your own life, but theirs too. It’s not worth it.
- You Want to Use Someone – If you think becoming someone’s mentor due to the mentee’s connections is a good idea even if you cannot help them with what they need, then you’re making a bad choice. They may never introduce you to their connections and you cannot expect it.
- You Think You Know It All – If you don’t think you can learn something from someone younger or different from you, you probably shouldn’t become their mentor. Even though you want to teach them something, you should also be able to open your mind and learn from them so that your world can grow.
- You Want to Parent Someone – In a work situation, you’re not the person’s parent. They’re not your kid. You cannot make them into your image. You mentor someone because you want to teach, encourage, and motivate, while opening doors for someone who wishes to follow your path to success.
- You Want to Feel Important – Don’t mentor someone just because you want to boost your own ego and feel like an important person. If you don’t have enough confidence in yourself and your skills to be important without the boost of someone else’s adulation, you’re not the right person to be a mentor.
- You Think They Can Serve You – If you want to have a minion to order around in the office, that’s not a good reason to be a mentor to someone. They’re not your personal helper. You are supposed to be helping them.
- You Want to Get Brownie Points – If you think being a mentor will get you brownie points with your higher-ups and that’s the only reason you’re doing it, you’ll be a terrible mentor. You want to be a mentor because it helps the mentee and you have a desire to be of service. Yes, you may get something out if it but that can’t be your main driving reason.
You should only be a mentor if you are truly interested in giving and helping someone else without regard to how it helps you. It does help you, that’s great. But it shouldn’t be the reason you choose to mentor someone, or you’ll end up being a bad mentor having a bad experience.