Mentoring experiences


When it comes to mentoring, people are looking for mentors. What are your experiences (good as well as bad) with your mentees?

Hassan Qudrat-Ullah
14 months ago

19 answers


In general, when I have mentored (or been mentored), the foundation of a great experience is always connection: how well do the mentor and mentee work together? There must be mutual respect, empathy, commitment and of course, the mentor should be equipped to either be the subject matter expert (SME) or be able to connect the mentee to a qualified SME. Mentoring is rarely a "one-and-done" situation, so the best mentors are in the relationship for the long term. It's helpful to set ground rules and understand the outcomes desired by both the mentor and mentee. The best mentees I've had harvest advice from multiple mentors/advisors, then apply what will work best for them. The worst mentees I've had either don't listen or act on advice, or they only take advice from a single source and try to force-fit it into the outcome they seek.

George Deriso
14 months ago
George, thanks a lot for sharing your experience. Indeed, it sheds light on the topic with the mirror of reality. Thanks, again. - Hassan 14 months ago

HI Hassan Qudrat-Ullah - I am unclear about what you mean by . "fort mentor". I was a Peer Mentor for Directors for a MNC first. Became an Executive Coach and Startpreneurs' Coach and a C-Suite Mentor later and never come across this word. Please clarify.
I have published a Series of 5 e-books about my Mentor experience with Startups and Part 1 of a series of e-book about C-Suite Mentoring - Good and bad ( success and failures) experiences of mentoring. If you . are an Amazon Kindle user - you may be able to read them all for free.
I write a blog on which I mostly share links of articles on Mentoring, Business, PESTLE analysis etc. and sometimes write my own articles.
If you interested, you may read my articles on Linkedin Pulse where there are 228 articles as well.
Hope this helps. Regards. Jay

DhAnAnjAy pArkhe
14 months ago
Wow, dear DhAnAnjAy pArkhe/. Thanks a lot. Yes, it helps. - Hassan 14 months ago
You are welcome. My mentoring is Pro-Bono - a giving back to society and I am doing it for free for 25 years. The proceeds of books purchased go to the Eyecare and Pediatric Diabetic care NGOs I support. Yes. I get to choose the mentees :). Regards. Jay - DhAnAnjAy 14 months ago
Thanks, dear Jay. Can I ask you how to bring/insert picture/diagrams in our responses? - Hassan 14 months ago
Hi Hassan Qudrat-Ullah, you can use the Snip tool to copy and paste pictures where it is allowed. for instance, it is not allowed here. - Imane 13 months ago

In my many decades of mentoring, people are looking for wealth of wisdom, your access to expert networks and your ability to connect to people's innate and expressed problems (passion for compassion)

Anshumali Saxena
14 months ago

As a mentor for a diverse range of start-up mentees in a broad of sectors the one thing they all have in common is the drive and determination to succeed. All are good at what they do technically and in most cases they support they require from me is based around strategic direction.
I've not had one bad experience with any mentee and find the process very rewarding.

Mark Tudor
14 months ago
Much appreciated, dear Mark. Giving or having strategic directions is priceless for mentees! - Hassan 14 months ago
Can someone give an example of "strategic direction" that hihers mentor gave? - Imane 13 months ago
From my experience, for example, discussions around: market segmentation, stakeholder targeting, value chain analysis, sources of investment and funding options for growth, product life cycles, etc. to ensure the original business objectives are met and to ensure sustainability of the business in the long term, This list is agile and will depend on the objectives of the mentee. - Mark 13 months ago

Hi Hassan Qudrat-Ullah. I've been mentoring in the corporate, academic and non for profit sectors for the last 20 years. So far I haven't had challenges nor bloopers. Only praises. I think that empathy, emotional and relational intelligence are key for valuable mentoring. Challenging the mentee to think different and creatively, also helps. Being like a swiss army knife of different knowledge fields also adds value. And being a systems thinker is the cherry on the cake. Sometimes mentors should act as learning or decision coaches. Others as big ears. Others as chefs or choreographers of knowledge creation. Having a good relational capital also helps. I hope the above insights are relevant to your inquiry.

Fabian Szulanski
14 months ago

Extremely positive. The mentor's ability to convey criticism constructively is the difference between a positive and negative mentor experience. As long as there is mutual respect and humility. My mentors have such a wealth of experience and that has given me the opportunity to grow, particularly in areas that I am not naturally gifted in.

14 months ago

As a start-up firm, we benefited hugely from the mentorship. Specifically, when we felt low, our mentors kept us encouraged. It is an asset and priceless an asset.

Ali Qudrat
13 months ago
Agreed, Ali Qudrat. Everyone feels low at some point of day or week, or moth, or year, or like. So, any help when one is not able to think it through, must be appreciated. If we have a "go-to" person, all good to listen to the advice by her/him. - Bo 13 months ago

If a mentee is keen, you'd see it. Others will talk and then never follow up.

The growth of the mentee is the biggest reward for a mentor.

Khalid Raza
13 months ago

Selfless folks who helps must be admied. I was fortunate to have one.

Bo Chen
13 months ago

I was not that lucky. My mentor never like me to ask soenone else for the advice on the same thing I asked him. It did not work our well for me.

Wasim Safdar
13 months ago
This is unfortunate, dear Wasim Safdar. As you can see from the above responses from our fellow panelsits, mentoring has been a sought after and a well rewarding activity both for mentors and the nmenteess. - Hassan 13 months ago

Cryptocurrencies will eat us the dinner of traditional banks. It is going to happen soon, not only in North Amerca but also across the globe including the banks in the middle east.

Wasim Safdar
13 months ago

Hello Hassan, I would say mentor-mentee is a two way relationship, neither can work stand alone. Energy has to be imbibed from both sides. I happen to co-chair a committee at IEEE which is Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineer, the committee is called MGA Training Committee which has certain products/programs one of them being on lead called VOLT - Volunteer Leadership Training and it started in 2013 and I was the fellow graduating from class of 2014 - what the committee do is to select 30-40 young professionals across the world and train them with enough resources circling around IEEE theme and soft-skills to make them future leaders resulting in them becoming Chairs of their local IEEE Section. 2015 was when we introduced Mentor concept that each mentee will have an IEEE Senior Member as Mentor to guide through the program, what we saw instead is mentees were not much interested and sometimes mentors were quite busy not responding timely to their mentee's questions and queries.

I was a mentor to two mentees for 2 years and in combine 4 of them, only 1 had alacrity to learn more so even in my case I was releasing energy, giving time sharing resources but mentees were not much receptive, honestly I still hadn't understand what seems to be a problem.

Can anybody comment here and guide us with our mentorship model please.

Sarang Shaikh
13 months ago
It is strange that mentees who need your support are not taking it. Just inform them and move on. There are many people who genuinly seek and need mentros like you. - Hassan 13 months ago
I agree withHassan Qudrat-Ullah. How come a person who needs a mentor and then does not take the advice or see the advice? Amybe he is just solo doer at best else everyone one of use need some kinf of mentorship at least at somepoint of our lives. - Imane 13 months ago

Having a mentor is often of great assistance to progress in your chosen field. Both mentee and mentor can learn significantly from the process.

The following are tips to get the most out of the mentoring process-
1 Learn how to accept and give feedback, ask for regular feedback
2 Share your thoughts and feelings
3 Maintain sensitivity about mentee’s personal and learning needs
4 Reflect on learning frequently, both parties maintain a reflective journal
5 Define and focus on mentee’s goals
6 Set a regular contact schedule but be flexible
7 Check frequently on the effectiveness of communications
8 Share information and resources
9 Have a definite conclusion to the process
10 Celebrate success
11 Continually work on evaluating the relationship
12 Brainstorm the list of learning opportunities when you start
13 Define purpose and objectives when you start. In some cases carrying out a force-field analysis may be beneficial in the early stages.
14 In some cases a self and others rating of the mentee’s competencies may be beneficial initially (Refer to “Resumes” on for a list of possible competencies)
“A good coach will make his people see what they can be, rather than what they are”
Being a good coach-

  1. Build rapport
  2. Listen a lot
  3. Ask open questions
  4. Build confidence
  5. Give praise
  6. Be blame free
  7. Realise people are never failures
  8. Listen more than you speak
  9. Try to build trust
  10. Schedule time
  11. Be open yourself
  12. Always support others
  13. Learn from mistakes
  14. Smile a lot
  15. Respect people
  16. Encourage life-long learning
  17. Boost everyone’s interpersonal skills
  18. Be a life-long learner
  19. Ask for regular feedback
  20. Celebrate success

An important point about being a mentor or coach is that it is not your role to provide solutions, rather your role is to get others to explore their options.

David Whiting
13 months ago
Brilliant list of advice, David Whiting. - Wasim 13 months ago
I think, "be blame-free" is hardly possible. People will blame you, not that you should be, but without evidence or a reason. - Imane 13 months ago
Well said, Imane BOUKHATEM. It is really hard to escape from "blame". It can happen at many levels ranging from family, friends to colleagues and work fellows.. - Bo 13 months ago
I agree with you all,Wasim Safdar, David Whiting, Imane BOUKHATEM, and Bo Chen, no one can escale blame at least a few times in her/his life. - Ali 13 months ago
It is important for a successful manager to first be able to identify the existence of the blame culture in order to be able to eradicate it. Following are three common warning signs that a culture of blame is starting to develop within a professional setting. • Arguments regarding responsibilities. If there are consistently discussions (or arguments) regarding who is responsible for specific task - David 13 months ago
between employees of the same level, a blame culture might be taking root. Employees are fighting to carve out their niche, rather than working together toward a common goal. • Critical Emails to managers regarding co-workers. A healthy office will see employees discuss among themselves how to improve a process or project without having to ‘tell’ on one another. When there are emails being sent to - David 13 months ago
supervisors in private complaining about the work of others, this is a classic indication of the blame culture. • Mistakes are blamed on a specific person. Often, there is a scapegoat that develops and takes the fall for anything that goes wrong. In the absence of quality analysis of the situation, a manager may just choose to make an example of someone. - David 13 months ago
Key Points 1. A blame culture is common in all different kinds of offices, and can lead to a lack of productivity, wasted time, and hard feelings being created. - David 13 months ago
key point 2. A blame culture also restricts creativity because employees are afraid to make mistakes. - David 13 months ago
key Point 3. A manager needs to be able to effectively change this type of culture to one that promotes teamwork and creativity. - David 13 months ago
Key point 4. Share your mission with the team and clearly define the role each person plays in achieving the overall objective. - David 13 months ago
Key point 1. Use effective communication techniques which consider other perspectives and check assumptions before reacting. - David 13 months ago

I've had mostly good experiences... but it's a marriage. Personality, desire, etc... all play a part. Some want to be mentored... but they just want the easy answers. They have to do the work too. Mentoring is GUIDING... not just TELLING. I admire and I'm impressed with a mentee who stays in contact with me... and doesn't just wait for me to reach out all the time. If you want help... show INITIATIVE.

Rick J. LoCastro
13 months ago
Thanks a lot, dearRick J. LoCastro, for your insights on mentoring. How would you like to pass on this experience? - Hassan 13 months ago
Well, when someone is invited as a speaker, can easily pass this advice on, I think. - Ali 13 months ago
I speak quite a bit at colleges and large gatherings. Often sharing leadership tips on mentoring, interviewing, and recruitment. Most college students or new people to the workforce lack depth of knowledge when it comes to much of what they really need to know. - Rick J. 13 months ago

I am associated with a company as a Career Mentor and mostly we mentor students (Age 13+) and guide them to identify their strengths with a Psychometric Assessment and then facilitate the process of mapping these strengths to some exciting and futuristic career directions.

Some of the roadblocks we face even before we start mentoring is that people are victims of traditional approach of choosing careers and many are still unaware that there are companies with expert mentors who can make their lives easier. Secondly, while we are all used to Free Advice, the concept of viewing the charges as an investment for future success is still lacking. After that people are looking for some quick fix solutions and expect an immediate and pointed ready made solution rather than viewing the mentoring as a process. Also during the process, students do not open up much and parents unnecessarily interfere and chip in on behalf of children which further restricts the child from opening up and articulating what is going on in his/ her mind. Post the session, mostly students do not stay in touch with mentor so any further exchange of updates and related inputs is an opportunity lost too.

On the mentor's side, there is not enough information at hand and lot of time is spent in initial session to understand the child and the parents. Considering the economics, a lot needs to be delivered in a short time which leads to taking some short cuts too which defeats the purpose of facilitation at times. Also, when "quantity" takes precedence, the quality takes a back seat.

Shabbir Padhri
12 months ago
Why would quanity take precedence over quality at the first place, dear Shabbir Padhri and Hassan Qudrat-Ullah - Ali 12 months ago
When we are trying to cover more cases, then the time given for each case at hand is less. Further with certain mentees not opening up, we process with whatever details are at hand and our own perceptions and biases creep in too. - Shabbir 12 months ago
Hassan Qudrat-Ullah and Shabbir Padhri, I think poor quality will lead to poor or lower quanity too. So, a balanced approach is needed. - Wasim 12 months ago

I a commissioner with the city of Oakland and I able to take that experience and mentor people through my ministry and the mentoring process has been fairly easy.

Reverend Sarah Garner
12 months ago
Any instsance of difficuty or an unusual case, dear Reverend Sarah Garner - Wasim 12 months ago

I have hugely benefited from my mentors, one my teacher and other a senior colleague at my workplace. I don't see any negative side to it. I appreciate their advice and support that I have received at various times of my life and career.

Tahir Iqbal
12 months ago

Warren Bénins is in his book "On Becoming a Leader" that it is so important for a mentee to realize he/she needs a mentor and select the mentor. Approach someone and ask "can you be my mentor" is the first step in making a mentoring relationship successful in my experience. Of course Mentor must be someone who wants to medal for mentee and not for mentor. Selecting the right mentor /mentee is therefore very important.

Anu Rathninde
12 months ago

When someone approaches me to be their mentor, I always assign them an initial reading project we can discuss at a specified future date. If the person shows no interest in completing the initial assignment then I will not mentor them. I have to be very judicious with my time so I need to know early if the mentee is devoted to investing time in their own career development. This strategy helps me to separate those who want to be mentored verse those who will be a waste of my time and energy. 

Debbie Reynolds
12 months ago

Have some input?