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Top Tips from ThreeTicks

Twelve Habits of the Toxic Mentor

Coaching and mentoring behaviours to avoid

Here is a light-hearted look at how not to mentor introduced to me by David Clutterbuck at a mentoring lunch in Birmingham!

  • Start from the point of view that you - from your vast experience and broader perspective - know better than the mentee what's in his or her interest

  • Be determined to share your wisdom with them - whether they want it or not; remind them frequently how much they still have to learn

  • Decide what you and the mentee will talk about and when; change dates and themes frequently to prevent complacency sneaking in

  • Do most of the talking; check frequently that they are paying attention

  • Make sure they understand how trivial their concerns are compared to the weighty issues you have to deal with

  • Remind the mentee how fortunate s/he is to have your undivided attention

  • Neither show nor admit any personal weaknesses; expect to be their role model in all aspects of career development and personal values

  • Never ask them what they should expect of you - how would they know anyway?

  • Demonstrate how important and well connected you are by sharing confidential information they don't need (or want) to know

  • Discourage any signs of levity or humour - this is a serious business and should be treated as such

  • Take them to task when they don't follow your advice

  • Never, never admit that this could be a learning experience for you, too

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