Are some people not amenable to being mentored?

As harsh as it sounds, and the possibility that it may anger progressive, liberals, and activists, some individuals, regardless of how capable, friendly, needy or smart they appear to be or are, and the context in which they live or work, are not just difficult to mentor, but repeatedly ignore the advice of the people who have agreed to mentor them, or fail to implement their good council.

That being said, it’s important to realize that there is a difference among coaching, counseling, facilitating, training, and mentoring.

In general, mentoring is a reciprocal and voluntary relationship between two people where one of the individuals has some sort of valued knowledge or expertise and attempts to direct, guide, or influence the less experienced person by providing advice, assistance or help.

And, just because a student, junior worker or colleague seeks your advice or you freely give some, it does not automatically mean that you have a mentoring relationship with them. Clearly these kinds of interactions develop over time.

It’s also unrealistic to believe, think or require students, workers, or other people with whom you have a mentoring relationship to follow all the “pearls of wisdom” that you freely bestow on them. But some mentees, for one reason or another, may ignore almost all of what you have to say.

Let’s face it not all work, career, or relationship advice you may offer is helpful. And an astute mentee should judge the quality and source (i.e., expertise) of the advice and its potential ramifications. Plus the mentee may choose not to implement your advice now, but do it later on.

Actual or potential mentors, on the other hand, might be hard pressed to ignore a mentee’s stories about their dissatisfaction with the mentors they left (or left them), their constant search for new advisors, and the appearance as if they don’t listen to or consider expert advice, draw most of their lessons from their own lived experience, think and act as if “they know it all,” and maybe even with a touch of grandiosity thrown in for good measure.

When this occurs the actual or potential mentor should realize that no matter how determined they are to make a positive impact in the career, life, and work of the mentee, how good or well packaged the advice that they give this individual is, nor how often it is transmitted, will it make a difference.

There are lots of people who need and want talented mentors and they might actually benefit from your advice and expertise.

Photo credit
Photographer: Jo Morcom
Title: ignored advice
in guinness tent @ port fairy folk festival