Joni Daniels

Mentors/Mentees – Know Where the Line Is

Few of us can accomplish great things without some mentoring. Whether formal or informal, within your professional organization or between colleagues, mentoring has become more and more common as people look to develop talent and acquire knowledge.

Being a Mentor can be very rewarding. Providing support, suggestions and information to someone who is eager to for it can enrich both your career and theirs. But in an effort to provide assistance, some Mentors go too far. In order to avoid crossing the line, it’s good to know where the line is in the first place.



INSTEAD: Assure them that you are honored to be considered as a potential investor but prefer to keep the relationship as a mentoring partnership only.

INSTEAD: A Mentor can help them determine the best way to get things done or provide feedback, but should not be doing the actual work.

INSTEAD: Suggest a call to a local or national hotline that deals with the specific concern (or if the/their firm/employer has an EAP, suggest an internal resource.)

It’s not always easy to know where the limits of the Mentor/Mentee relationship are. Having a clear idea of what things are definitely out of bounds from the start can help you identify areas to avoid.