When are you NOT ready for mentoring?

When are you NOT ready for mentoring?

17 May 2021
Gerrit Sarens
Gerrit Sarens
  • You have read several of our articles and LinkedIn posts on mentoring.

    You have thought about it, and you want to give it a try.

    Time to take a mentor.

  • Hold your horses!

  • Quite some people are not ready for mentoring yet.

  • These are the typical symptoms

    1. Limited self-awareness
      • Too many blind spots about your behavior
      • No insight into your strengths and weaknesses
      • No idea what you could improve about yourself
    2. No clear view on what you want to achieve with the mentoring (often related to the first point)
      • Vague goals
      • Unambitious goals
      • “We shall see what happens during the mentoring.”
      • Lack of accountability (“If it doesn’t work, so be it.”)
    3. No awareness of growth blocking issues
      • “The others are the problem.”
      • Fear to be honest about your struggles
      • Fear to ask for help
      • Fear of failure
      • “I will never be able to achieve something.”
      • Lack of trust in other people
      • Low mental energy level
    4. No growth mindset
      • “I don’t need to learn more’
      • You avoid challenges and obstacles
      • You feel threatened by someone else's success
      • You believe your abilities are fixed
    5. No time commitment
      • I am so busy
      • I have other priorities at the moment
      • Let’s postpone until I have more time
    6. No support from your N+1 or another internal sponsor
      • Nobody else in my organization knows about the mentoring
      • You don’t want to get feedback from others in your organization
    7. No genuine openness for the input and advice of others
      • More talking than listening
      • Defensive reactions to the feedback of others
      • “I know it better.”
      • “My mentor is so different from me.”
      • “I have my view on the world, and nobody can change that.”

    If you tick several of these boxes, it’s not the right moment to start with mentoring.

Struggles of a manager

Managers are

  • not or inadequately trained in this role


    • lack self-confidence
    • don’t know how to go from being a colleague to being a boss
    • need to loosen up on the command & control leadership style
    • must let go of the (technical) expert status
    • cannot give or accept constructive feedback
    • feel pressure to perform as manager
    • have difficulty building relationships
    • want to be liked by everyone or want to be the ‘bad boss’
    • play the hero
  • are struggling


    • stay too involved in operations
    • have trouble prioritizing
    • cannot delegate
    • fear conflict situations
    • disconnect from the team
    • deal with flawed strategic thinking
    • do not relate to higher management
    • lack clear communication skills
    • remain not self-aware
    • avoid difficult conversations
    • miss political antennas
    • ...
  • capable of more


    • need mental preparation as successor
    • need to be able to lead big changes ahead
    • need to learn to be emotionally resilient and in control
    • need to learn to make big decisions fast without all the information
    • must become persuasive presenters
    • need to learn how to cultivate their own personal brand
    • need to learn how to lead by example
    • manage by trust, not by fear
    • need to overly develop empathy
    • ...
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