I had to LOL at this:

via Dilbert

A mentor’s success is measured by the success that their mentees experience, post-engagement.

The challenge is that it’s incredibly difficult to know what success means or how it’s qualified or even (and especially) quantified.

But, as an experienced mentor myself, I feel like I have a good sense of those that I’m helping well and where positive momentum is being created and also when I feel as if I’ve reached the end of my ability to create real, tangible, lasting value.

For instance, there have been more than a handful of times where, after a significant amount of time has passed in the mentor / mentee relationship where it becomes obvious that my thoughts, opinions, and perspectives are not theĀ right type and kind for the person at that moment.

So, all things being equal, I eventually have to tell my mentee that I no longer think that this relationship is performing at the rate that we both need it to be at. In other words, I no longer feel like I’m having the impact that I want to have and, consequently, the individual is not having the results that they need and deserve.

The most telling sign is when we, over the course of months (or even years!) we still find ourselves struggling with the same things. Or, more specifically, my mentee can’t seem to get their shit together. A recent example of this is a younger man who can’t seem to work through his relationship problems with women and continually struggles to manage these types of relationships at work – he’s even been confronted and asked to resign!

This is a pattern of thought and behavior that I had hoped that I could help him with but it seems that I do not have what it takes to help him “upskill” in this particular area. Even though he may enjoy meeting with me I no longer feel as if I’m particularly and adequately equipped to help him any longer.

As a result, I told him that he needs a different (and better) mentor to take him into the next season. This doesn’t bother me at all as I want him to succeed, even if it means finding someone else for him.

Success for my mentees means positive breakthroughs and forward progress. If those things aren’t happening then I’m the wrong guy for the job.


Also published on Medium.