By: TSP Blog | @TSProckstars
Finding a mentor can be tricky work. You want to find someone you can trust, but you also don’t want to blur the lines between career confidant and friend. It is also important your mentor of choice has a career path you’d like to mirror – or at least one you respect.
Often, you expect your mentor to be your mentor for…well, for life. This person should guide you throughout your career and be a sounding board for any ideas or opportunities that may come your way. But sometimes, this just isn’t the case. People change and so do their needs. So how do you know when it’s time to let go?
A mentor doesn’t necessarily need to be on call 24/7 – they do have their own lives after all! However, a mentor should be reachable on a regular basis. Not only should you be able to text or call them should something come up, but they should also be reaching out to you with updates and words of encouragement.
We recommend meeting monthly, at least at the beginning of your mentorship. Setting a schedule upfront will help ensure you’re getting what you need out of the relationship. Once you’ve gotten into a groove, you can dial back the number of meetings you have. If you start feeling the reliability fade or meetings continuously get rescheduled, this may be a sign your mentor has taken a step back.
Your relationship with your mentor may be different depending on how long you’ve known them or how well they know you personally, but they should always have your best interest at heart. A mentor should be encouraging, yet honest. If they seem to constantly steer you away from new opportunities or downplay your accomplishments, you may want to reconsider their intentions.
Your mentor should be actively connecting you with their peers or sending along opportunities as they arise. Yes, they should be good listeners, but they also need to be good leaders. If they aren’t helping you excel in your career, what are they helping you with?
A mentor should care about your progress and your relationship should evolve as your career does. If it seems you are having the same conversation over and over again or are having to repeat yourself, this could be a sign your mentor is disconnected.
A mentor should also be fully engaged when they are meeting with you – they shouldn’t be checking their emails or taking business calls. It is important the time they do give you is focused and beneficial. We all know nothing is worse than a meeting with no purpose.
Regardless of how long you’ve had your mentor or the friendship that may have forged, you must acknowledge if your mentor isn’t giving what you need. Take the time to talk out any issues you may be having before cutting ties completely. It can be a difficult, but it is important to provide an explanation as to why you are moving on from the mentorship. Plus, there is always the chance it was a simple misunderstanding and your mentor may want to make it right!