Issues that are Common for Mentors:
1. Mentee doesn’t like to talk or is reluctant to talk about the most Common challenges in Mentoring:
- Problems Concerns
- School issues
- Interpersonal issues that affect school
Many people are reluctant to talk on a personal or professional level with strangers or new people. They may even be reluctant to talk with anyone about important issues.
Don’t give up. Share about situations or people when you didn’t talk or were afraid to speak up.
Not talking is probably a trust issue, and although it may not be with you personally with all people or older people, it seriously affects your mentoring relationship.
Try to get your mentee to journal about the issues in a way that only you will see the journals.
And the overall basic suggestion is always to consult the program leaders for help and/or direction.
2. Mentee talks too much and doesn’t listen.
This can also be a defense mechanism to avoid personal exchanges. Try getting the mentee to write everything that doesn’t pertain specifically to today’s lesson or issue. Do not cut them off from sharing, but give the sharing a different format.
3. Mentee doesn’t follow your advice.
You might want to ask yourself why you think the mentee should accept your advice without questioning it or you might want to make it easier for the mentee to question your advice rather than just ignoring it. Get the mentee to suggest alternative ideas and discuss their merits.
4. Mentee wants to talk about things that you feel are outside of the program guidelines.
Sometimes, the mentee wants to discuss things outside the scope of BreakThru or your personal comfort zone or your knowledge such as finance, sex, drugs, dating, abuse, etc. Definitely, do not cut the mentee off, suggest they journal about it while you seek additional, professional help from the program leaders. Let them know that if they bring up topics that require action on your part, that you will share the information with responsible professionals. (BreakThru needs to establish a few guidelines here to help all mentors be prepared for this situation).
5. A mentee is bored with tutoring/mentoring or just doesn’t get the concepts you are trying to share in the STEM studies.
Seek more relevant paths such as things that affect the mentee or are important parts of their world or career goals. Try hands-on, visual aids, quests, YouTube, iTunes University.
6. Your mentee always or often misinterprets what you say or what you teach.
Look at differences in learning styles with your mentee. Is the mentee a step-by-step or big picture learner, is the mentee a hands-on versus visual or auditory learner? Also, find out why the mentee thinks you have communication breakdowns. Suggest that both you and the mentee write down the actions required or suggested in any meeting and compare the notes. You may find a clue there. Remember people learn and take in data in different ways and repeating the data does not mean it is getting through. Also, real-world or personal application of concepts and ideas may be necessary for your mentee to grasp any concept. Look for relevance together.
For additional ideas on mentoring, check out this Help Page from the Youth Mentoring Connection that deals with difficult topics and uncomfortable situations that may arise during mentoring review.