What Can You Expect From a Mentorship?

mentortiesIs it unreasonable to have expectations in a mentorship?

James Ryan Moreau asked me on twitter, “are mentors supposed to refer you to job postings? I found frustration in the past when I wasn’t getting interviews.”

My knee jerk reaction to the question was, you should never assume that a mentor owes you anything.  They’re committing their time as a mentor and it’s up to them what aspects of a mentorship they want to provide.

But after more thought, something like job recommendations seems like a reasonable expectation.  I think that if you respect a young professional enough to take them on as a mentee, you should be able to trust that they’ll represent you well.  If not, you shouldn’t take on taht person as a mentee.

Mentors expect things from the mentees too, don’t they?  A lot of mentorships consist of a mentor providing advice, and resources, while the mentee acts as an assistant that helps their mentor with work.  Or a mentor might just expect a mentee to work hard, to respect their time and to put in the extra effort in their career.T

Expectations are mutual.  A healthy mentorship is one in which both the mentor and the mentee trust and respect each other.  They’re professionals and they’re friends.  They’ll help each other whenever possible.

It shouldn’t be built on expectations, but rather the will to help and to learn.

Have any thoughts on this?

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