As a mentor, it’s important to know a lot about your mentee to ensure that you can help guide and counsel them on a frequent basis. For many mentees, they have fears that have caused them to be limited or have a lack of confidence as they’re mentored. This is especially common in mentees who may be newer to the workforce rather than a seasoned employee. Understanding your mentee’s fears can allow you to offer encouragement and help them to regain their strength.
When getting mentored, mentees often fear that they’ll be judged by you, as their mentor. They may struggle with remaining vulnerable because they’re afraid that their faults or flaws will be visible, which can change your perception of them. Make it a point to become open about your own struggles and mistakes you’ve made to show that you’re not perfect. They’ll know that you aren’t judging them if you remain humble and avoid becoming critical when they’re open with you.
A Lack of Knowledge
Mentees often have many different questions but are afraid of looking foolish or uneducated. Communicate ahead of time that you value their intelligence and that there are no stupid questions so they can feel free to ask you anything and feel safe as they learn from you. Consider sharing your background and communicating how you first started out, which can allow them to understand that what they’re feeling is normal and that they can eventually get to where you are in life.
Mentees can struggle with self-doubt as they meet with you because you may be older or have more experience in a specific area. In fact, you very likely are, and is one of the reasons they were drawn to you in the first place. It may seem as if you have more power, which can cause them to doubt themselves or have a lack of confidence. If you notice that they’re struggling with self-doubt, don’t be afraid to call it out to ensure you can be on the same page and understand that your role doesn’t necessarily have more value or weight.
Take yourself off a pedestal and do what you can to become more relatable to ensure that they can connect with you and learn instead of focusing too much on their fears. Allow them to understand that you’re also human and are prone to doubt yourself, and you’ll be able to cultivate a more trusting relationship.