I am a lousy mentee. It’s a funny admission to make as someone who makes her living as professional mentor. Sure, I train my clients on how best to leverage my expertise. Of course, that doesn’t mean that I follow my own advice very well.
It’s not that I don’t know the results that mentoring can create. How else can you access the smarts of someone who has led companies, made mistakes, picked themselves back up, and learned how to be really successful? The best part is that mentors are outside of your business, so they can see the forest for the trees, and question both the assumptions, and taboos, that stealthily drive decision making.
Even knowing this, I’m a lousy mentee, and I’m not alone. Many of my friends and colleagues share that they make the same mistake. While I usually mentor businesses, I’ve also been a mentor for the Haas Business School’s Global Social Venture Competition for the better part of a decade. There have been teams who used my services well and others who (how do I put this delicately?) didn’t.
I’ve compiled the varied experience of lousy mentees into something of a hall of fame. Here’s how to make a mentor completely useless.