Solutions to Bad Mentoring Relationships

April 3, 2014

Here are some solutions to the the problems mentioned in our last post titled "Bad Mentoring Relationships". Once again, these came from a great article co-authored by one of the keynote speakers from last years UNM Mentoring Conference, Dr. Lillian Eby. To read the article in full, click here

1.Have a Relationship with Structure

The organization in which the mentoring relationship takes place should be there to provide support. For example, in a company setting, HR individuals need to be there to help those in the relationship with training and goal-setting.


2.Have a Backup

It may be a good idea for mentees to have more than one mentor. That way, if one mentoring relationship goes sour, the protégé is not left "mentorless".


3.Recruit Carefully

Those who volunteer to become mentors are more likely to commit fully to their protégé. In addition, organizations should attempt to match mentors and mentees based on similarity.



Expectations should be discussed prior to the beginning of the relationship (e.g. how often to meet, what the mentor has to offer). Protégés should be eager to learn and receptive to feedback. Both parties need to put a strong emphasis on trust. Finally, the mentor and mentee have to commit wholeheartedly to the relationship before it begins in order for it to be worthwile.


6.Feedback is Essential

Mentors should give feedback directly to the mentee about his or her performance and progress. Additionally, they should also report back to the mentees supervisors concerning how the protègè is doing.


7.All Good Things Must Come to an End

Nothing lasts forever, and a good mentoring relationship is no exception to this rule. When the protégé has learned all that he or she can from the mentor, it may be time to move on.



Chandler, D., Eby, L., & McManus, S. (n.d.). When Mentoring Goes Bad. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved April 1, 2014, from