Mentoring and Knowledge Sharing

By Roberta Attanasio, STEMM Leadership Editor

Finding the right mentor can jump start your career or take it to the next level, but sometimes the search for a mentor seems endless.  Indeed, I’m asked the same question over and over again: “How do I find a mentor?”  With all the advice available out there, there is still need to ask.  Why?  It’s because, very frequently, the first attempts to find a mentor are unsuccessful.  Despite the abundance of free advice, somehow one of the most important messages does not hit home.  To find a mentor on your own, it’s helpful to look among people to whom you have already demonstrated your potential for success—people who understand your values and believe in you.  Otherwise, why would they mentor you?

Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

This takes me to the next point—even if would-be mentors recognize your potential for success, they may not have resources (mostly time resources) to dedicate to you.  Therefore, they may be hesitant about committing to a new mentoring relationship.  So what can you do to make mentoring more attractive to someone with limited time availability?  Show you understand that time is valuable, that a successful mentoring relationship is purposeful and meaningful, and show you’re open-minded about new, modern approaches to mentoring.  Your potential mentor will know that the relationship will be flexible and productive, and that time will be used wisely.  But, what are some of the new approaches to mentoring?  One example is the “two-way street” model.  Ask yourself: What can I offer my mentor?  Be ready to give or, in other words, be ready to add value, so to make the relationship even more appealing and productive.

So, let’s review the features of a modern and successful professional mentoring relationships.  Both mentor and mentee know what they want to accomplish, expectations are clearly defined, and the mentor has the specific expertise to help achieve the mentee’s goals.  Mentoring works at its best when is deliberate and tailored for specific individuals.  A mentor helps a mentee to deal with challenges and to develop a career and leadership strategy.  A mentor may also provide a non-judgmental ear when the mentee needs to vent frustrations.  The mentee develops skills and acquires knowledge necessary for professional and personal growth, while the mentor benefits by “giving back”—expertise piled up throughout the years is freely made available to others.  However, many of the most successful mentoring relationships now follow the “two-way street” approach—along with the mentee, the mentor also acquires new knowledge and develops new skills by interacting with the mentee.  In other words, knowledge flows both ways, and skills are acquired by both parties.  So, again, when looking for a mentor, ask yourself: “How can I help my mentor grow?”

At first, you may feel uncomfortable with the concept of helping a mentor grow.  This is because, traditionally, the most common mentoring relationships are seen under the perspective of the “one-way street” model—an older, senior individual shares expertise with a younger, junior one.  However, the traditional model is being gradually replaced by the “two-way street” approach.  Many mentors now learn from their mentees thanks to bi-directional knowledge sharing.  I often hear of mentors becoming familiar with specific aspects of social media or acquiring new technology-based skills from their mentees.  Don’t shy away from what you know.  Knowledge of up-and-coming tech trends is helpful to everyone.  This type of mentoring relationship also helps to clarify generational interpretations of different issues, thus improving communication in the larger community.  There are many different ways to add value to the mentoring relationship.  Be creative—you have more to give than you think.

So, once you have identified a potential mentor among individuals that believe in you, show that you have a plan in place—and find out how you can help.  Show that you understand modern mentoring.  This could just be the missing link between you and a successful quest for a mentor.  Once your willingness to give is recognized, the mentoring relationship will most likely develop on its own, moving on a two-way street.  And, remember….. even when your first mentoring relationship becomes well-established, keep looking.  One mentor is not enough, you need multiple mentors!

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  1. Mentorship can be extremely beneficial when one finds the right person to be a mentor. Someone who believes in that individual’s potential and has the expertise to aid that individual to reach their potential and grow, but mentorship doesn’t have to be a one-way street. Traditionally we assume a mentor must be a senior in a specific field we are interested in and they can help the mentee grow in that area but mentorship I believe like stated is more of a two-way street. This is because both the mentor and mentee have the ability to grow and can gain knowledge in that relationship. Furthermore, very underestimated is the role of peers as mentors, that way its much more of a two-way street as you both seek to grow and help each other grow to your full potential. Also, it’s much easier to relate to a peer as you have a greater emotional intelligence and can articulate your feelings and goals more successfully.

    • Every one of us needs a mentor based in life. There is no limit to that, it is a matter of finding the right mentor that will suit the level that we are at in life. According to the article to find a mentor, it is important to look for people who understand your value and believe in you. Someone that does not believe in you and the potential that you have within you can not guide you nor mentor you. For a good relationship between a mentor and a mentee, there must be a connection beteween the two. This means that, the mentor must be able to know the strenghts and the weaknesses of the mentee and together work towards the desired goal. This relationship, like the article mentioned, is not just a one way approach, as many believe it is; rather it is a two way approach. As a mentee, we may think, how can we contribute to the relationship to make it a two way approach? It is easy to find ourselves in a position where we think we have nothing to offer to our mentor, since we consider them superior to us. However, in the article it is mentioned as mentees, it is even possible to help our mentor grow. This is where the art of creativity comes in. I believe that every mentor will appreciate when a mentee comes or approaches them with new ideas that they have not thought before. Everyone can contribute at their level, becuae we all have something to offer regardless of how samll it may be. I am sure good mentors appreciate that quality in mentees, especially for a succesul mentor-mentee relationship.

  2. Mentorship is one of the most IMPORTANT aspects of life that I believe to a certain extent can make or break an individual. Finding and having a mentor that is in the same line of work as you or simply there as source of guidance and encouragement, I believe makes all the difference in the path of someones life. Although there are individuals who have gone through life without being mentored and still ended up being successful, I believe that having that edge of mentorship is an asset that makes you more of a well-rounded individual. The beauty about mentorship is that there is not limit on how many you can have! Which in turn, gives individuals the opportunity to be diversified in their ways of thinking and the knowledge they may gain because they are taking in information and different perspectives from multiple people of different ages, gender, and backgrounds. I truly believe that our best leaders are those who have been mentored because as a mentee you learn so much about yourself through someone else, and now as a leader, one can use that knowledge to help someone else learn about themselves.

  3. This article was very interesting! I have to admit I never had a mentor and this is a role that is missing in Italy. During high school we often see as mentosr our teachers, although most of the time they do not have the opportunity or will to mentor you. So in the end, you do not really get the chance to have a mentor. Also in the university this figure is totally missing. Indeed, since I studied Biology, what was most difficult for me was to decide what to focus on during my Master Degree, which lab to choose and so on… I think having a mentor would have been greatin that phase of my life. I think I was lucky to be surrounded by friends who were able to inspire me during my studies. This really helped to focus on my goal. After I joined my former lab for my Master thesis, I always tried to help and to guide the younger student in the lab and to somehow share what I learnt with the time.

    • Hello Sara!
      I too have never been fortunate enough to have a mentor and have tried to navigate my life and career path on my own which led to my many struggles. Like you, I did not have a mentor to help guide me through getting into a research lab or what area in biology to focus on for my aspiration in becoming a veterinarian. Despite these drawbacks, not having a mentor or just anyone for guidance can also have postive side effects. Me not having a mentor or a school that had a concentration in animal science/veterinary studies has, in a way, forced me to take action into my own hands. Because of this, I was able to create a pre-vet organization and concentration in my undergrad institution! Success without a mentor is still possible but I believe life sure can be easier with one.

  4. That was an enjoyable read! The concept of a “two-way street” relationship is quite different to me. I had always thought that the purpose of a mentor was to give insight and knowledge to their mentee. I never thought of the mentee returning the favor. I think people do not think of what a mentee can put in the relationship because we are set to believe that the mentor is the one that is supposed to share their advanced knowledge and guide us to success. I now understand the value of both parties supporting each other. I have not been fortunate enough to find a professional mentor that could guide me through life; however, I am still on the lookout and hope to find someone very soon. I believe it is essential to obtain such relationship to assist in our journey to success.

  5. Mentorship has always been an engaging topic of discussion for students and young people. During my years at GSU, I often encounter friends who lack mentors feel lost and uncertain of their path forward in education and career despite their high GPA in school. In my first and a half year of college, I was not an exception to this crowd; I struggled with the thought of graduate school versus professional school or if I should pursue higher-level education. Fortunately, through the power of communication and persistence, I was able to connect with my current mentors. As the article has mentioned, a mentor-mentee relationship is best if both parties consider it a two-way street, and where giving is receiving. From personal experience, I think this is one of the most important aspects to consider when looking for mentors. Not only to consider if that mentor is a modern or a traditionalist but also to reevaluate if you are truly prepared to be in such a professional relationship.

  6. I think finding a mentor in itself is already a daunting task, so starting a mentor-mentee relationship can seem very intimidating. I think this stems from the traditional perspective that mentors are there to really just mentor- tell you how to fix your problems, give sound advice, etc- and mentors are generally seen as someone of a higher status than you, such as a professor. Just from personal experience, I have found some professors extremely intimidating, so it’s very difficult to be vulnerable and ask them for advice when there’s the fear that you’ll look stupid in front of them. I definitely agree that the two way model would be extremely beneficial for both parties. The concept that a mentor is only there to pass on knowledge to their mentee also boxes in the mentor- giving them the assumption that they have already learned everything they need to know and are not open to new ideas, which is more counterproductive. That’s why I think the two way model is more useful. It would also lessen the intimidation factor knowing that your mentor is also there to learn from you.

  7. As someone who has and still does struggle with the difficulty in gaining a mentor I can really relate to this article. A career in science is one that a person spends so much of their time dedicated to, that playing the role of a mentee can seem daunting to a mentor when assisting a mentee. As someone who loves research I know the importance of having a mentor to guide you in working when it comes to working to use science explain some of what cannot be or is hard to explain.
    My question, is why is it that we as mentee’s feel so doubtful almost as if we are a burden when it comes to gaining mentorship experience? I personally believe the answer to this question lies in the fact that many of us feel as though we are beneath those who lead us. Isn’t that what a mentorship is? A mentor, who guides or leads the way for their mentee seemingly underneath their wing for the future of their field?
    I believe sometimes the idea of working beneath someone can cause one to feel literally below them and not on the same playing field as those above them. I believe a resolution to this problem could be mentees working to see seeking mentorship as help from someone experienced in what they like to study and not as a problem, but guidance and aid in our aspirations in beginning to gain the knowledge and understanding they have spent in their years of studying.

  8. I agree with this article as it currently relates to my struggling mentor-mentee relationship. I believed the relationship could only be a one-way street, as I, an undergraduate student, could not contribute any new insights to a professor with multiple years of biology under his belt. This mentality only perpetuated the situation as we started talking about the future, and he listed for me all the things I should be doing and I felt I could not stand up for myself and tell him that was not the direction I wanted to be. Now I am left feeling I am only a way to get more results for his research. After reading this article, I’m starting to think if I had started with the two-way street mentality, I would have more confidence in my voice and things would have gone differently. If I had stood up for myself, my professor could see my drive and dedication to my future career, helping him get a better idea of where I want to go and who I am. While I am currently still in this mentor-mentee relationship, I can take on the mindset of the relationship being a two-way street and hopefully positively change the dynamic in the relationship that can benefit my mentor and me.

  9. While the two way street model does seek to provide both parties with some valuable assets, I think the mentee should always be seeking knowledge instead of trying to teach someone something. A good example of a fantastic mentor-mentee relationship is seen in the financial world. Warren Buffet, a modern day billionaire, used his boss as a mentor during his formative 20’s. He began taking classes from Ben Graham at Columbia learning what Graham described as “value investing”, looking at intrinsic value in companies found across America by analyzing financials and past performance. This changed drastically what Buffet viewed as investments in his 20’s and led directly to his decisions making which formed what is now Berkshire Hathaway.

    Buffet’s relationship with his boss is in my opinion how you should approach being a mentee. Absorbing every detail that they can teach you while questioning and altering your current thought processes and behaviors. It does not solve the problem of finding a mentor, but it does give you a great path of how to be taught, and the benefits from learning from a seasoned veteran of the field you are trying to enter.

  10. This article shares a very insightful perspective. I had never previously thought of what I could do for my mentors. The “two way street” concept was not something I considered in these relationships. I think that it seems like our mentors have it all together so we assume that they don’t need anything from us. In the future, I will offer the same support in return for all of the great advice and support. I also think that mentors don’t have to be in your specific field of study. One of my mentors is a doctor who works in a hospital ER and her career path was the most similar to what I want mine to be as a Physician Assistant. On the other hand, another one of my mentors is my older brother. He’s not working in the medical field but he is a very successful client solutions manager at Facebook New York. He stepped in as my mentor when I was preparing to graduate from high school and he was very helpful in my process of applying to colleges. He got his bachelor’s degree from here at Georgia State University many years ago so even though we don’t share the same major, we still have similar paths. I also think that it is important for your mentor to know you well to better guide the best path for you and who knows you better than your own sibling?

  11. This article was very insightful to me. It resonated with me because I was able to relate it back to my life currently. From what I’ve seen amongst my friends, some of them have one or two people who teach them in a particular area. I’ve always wanted a mentor but unfortunately I was never able to find one. Even looking amongst people who know me personally, not everyone is even willing to mentor someone. I think in finding a mentor it is important to find someone who likes teaching and feels like they are knowledgeable enough to help in a particular area. As you said, some people may not even have the resources or time to dedicate to a mentee , therefore not wanting to start that mentor-mentee relationship. I believe everyone should have a mentor or at least try to be one for someone else once they feel comfortable enough. In that way there can be knowledge passed on from one person to another. Going through life would be made easier due to having someone there to ask questions and receive guidance from.

    • I think that while in school (be it grad school or undergraduate) it is incredibly difficult to find a mentor. Most professors are dedicated to their research and lives beyond the classroom. For me, and many others, it took graduating and beginning to work in industry before finding mentors that were applicable to the field I was interested in. One option while in school is to work as a research assistant and find a PI that is willing to invest time in teaching you skills that are transferable beyond the lab. These things are all easier said than done, but there is a path forward! If you put in the time you will find opportunities out there.

  12. This article resonates with me, particularly with my current mentor situation. I have 2 mentors, one that I work with on a day-to-day basis, and one that I see about once a month, but all 3 of us work together. I could not imagine my relationship with them without my assistance to them. Honestly, my mentors mentor me by allowing me to be of help to them in their work. They give me responsibilities, they critique my work, and they evaluate my growth, so that they may make honest recommendations for my future. If I did not work hard to help them, they would not have an incentive to help me. I understand that mentorship could be more unidirectional, but to me, that idea is very uncomfortable. I can’t imagine being satiated with an experience in which I was receiving lots of support, but in which I didn’t feel it was well-deserved.

    • Wow Sydney, this was a very interesting point made. With me not having a mentor, I feel like it is hard for me to understand that level of confidence that you exude in your comment about your unidirectional mentorship. I too believe that in any scenario between multiple people, that there is always something to gain from both parties and a mentor-mentee relationship is not exempt. With being a mentee, it is often obvious how you are benefiting from it with gaining advice, a skillset, mentoring, networking and so much more but the less obvious gain is from the mentor. Mentors not only gain a new perspective or even advice from their mentee, but also gains practice in advancing their leadership skills which can be invaluable and is always needed. Because of this, I too believe that your gainings as a mentee due in response to you giving something valuable to your mentor is well-deserved.

  13. The idea of a “two-way street” relationship with a mentor is new to me, but I understand the value behind it. When I traditionally think of a mentor, I too think of a more senior official sharing their knowledge with the mentee, but now I understand that should no longer be the case. Members of the older generation may be well-versed in their area, but they also may lack knowledge of some of the newer trends that the younger generation may be accustomed to. As we have learned in this course and throughout other articles, being a scientist isn’t just about the science anymore. Scientists are expected to be more well-rounded now, and that is where a mentee can help. This is something I will keep in mind as I move forward in my life and career. Even in relationships in general, you need to understand what you can also bring to the table. When mentors are able to learn from their mentees, they are much more likely to want to help out as much as possible. Understanding my values and what I can add will also help me find the right mentor for me. Knowing my strengths and weaknesses may allow me to find a mentor whose skills we can compliment.

  14. Entering college as a first-generation student, and understanding the need for a mentor was a tough concept to understand. For the first two years of my college career, I felt very lost and confused about what to do regarding my classes, my career goals, and college overall. Although my family was very supportive, they also weren’t familiar with my struggles, therefore often, I felt as though I was navigating college alone, and I needed guidance. After realizing this, I knew I needed someone with experience that was willing to pour knowledge into me, and my search for a mentor began. After finally evaluating the professors and counselor I had in my life, I honed in on those relationships, and the mentee-mentor relationships that build from there have shaped me into the student and leader that I am today. These relationships are/have been essential to my growth because it is crucial to have someone who encourages you that can also relate to what you’re going through, and to reassure you that if they could accomplish it so can you.

    After reading this article, it was interesting to think of the “two-way street model.” While I believe that it is essential for a mentor and mentee to water each other to grow, I do not agree with the concept of having to make myself “attractive for one’s time.” I believe that if it is indeed a two-way street, just as I equally have to make you interested in wanting to spend your time guiding me, shouldn’t the mentor also make themselves an attractive candidate? Shouldn’t mentors also be just as interested in the mentee’s life? I believe all relationships should be equal and genuine. For personal relationships such as a mentor-mentee relationship, if they are not genuine and the mentee is giving everything, and the mentor is not present in also building that relationship, it will be strictly business. If they didn’t equally share or show interest when making their relationship, it would do neither of them justice. Therefore I believe that when on a search to finding a well-equipped mentor, they should equally show you why you would want them to be your mentor and not just why you would make an exceptional mentee.

  15. This was a very beneficial read. Going back to when I first came to Georgia State University, I did not know what a mentor was. I joined several healthcare organizations, and they urged me to get out and find a mentor. At first, it was not easy because several individuals declined me. I believe it was because I did not come to them with a direct plan of what I wanted to do, I would ask, “I want to be a physician could you be my mentor.” I know now that I was addressing finding a mentor all wrong. On one occasion at a networking event between physicians, medical students, and pre-medical students, I met one of my current mentors, and we had a normal conversation. I received her contact information, and we later talked. She told me about her path to becoming a physician, and I told her what I had planned to become a physician and the steps I planned to engage in to achieve that goal. I asked her if she would mind guiding me on my path to becoming a physician, and she agreed. I believe that I received this YES because I developed a relationship with her before asking her to become my mentor. I used. This same approach for my other mentors and they all have been successful, meaningful relationships.

    I agree with the post when it says that you must bring something to the table in your mentoring relationship. Both parties should be mutually benefited. I believe that this is accurate because, with my mentors, they keep me on track of what I should be doing next, and they hold me accountable. I keep them up to date of any changes with the MCAT or the application cycle of medical school since it was a bit different when they applied. These types of relationships benefit us both, and that is what makes them meaningful. When looking for a mentor, ask yourself, what can you bring to the table? Is that mentor the right person for you, and do you feel as if they can provide you with adequate resources to help you succeed? These should be the questions that you ask yourself when looking for a mentor.

  16. I agree that to have an efficient relationship each person needs to be respective of both the mentor’s and mentees time through the process of developing a plan for the mentoring. It can feel like an annoyance and even uncomfortable reaching out in the beginning but once the expectations are clear on both sides positive interactions are produced moving forward. Most people know that mentoring requires a commitment to communicate often with changes that are happening in your life both personally and professionally even though it can feel exhausting sometimes. The search for a mentor who relates to your professional, academic, and personal goals can be almost impossible for a lot of people. This is when I reflected and realized what makes someone a good mentor and how to find one. Years ago I was focused on finding a doctor to become my mentor since that aligns with my professional goals. However, I learned a good mentor is someone who supports your goals and helps you find paths to reach them, and someone who connects you with others to assist in aspects your mentor may not relate with.

    I developed a relationship with my current mentor through a multicultural connections program. At first I was reluctant about having a mentor who didn’t look like me or share my interests. However, after careful analysis I realized it was more beneficial than a doctor that is already in an established position. Because of her vastly different career she is able to give me insight on how she discovered her passions and details on ways I can explore all the options available to meI hadn’t thought of. My mentor is a professor, but she is the reason I gained my first shadowing experience by connecting me with her personal doctor. This shows that no matter how much you have in common, mentors are always useful. I love having her as a mentor because she gives me prospective outside of the science world which helps me to be more well rounded.

    • Maria,

      I am excited to hear that you were able to find a mentor. I believe that as mentioned in the article you should continue to search for more mentors, because you can never have enough advice. I know that it is time consuming as you mentioned, but the more mentors you have the more valuable resources that you can gain. Who knows when searching for another mentor you may come across a physician to be your mentor that you were initially looking for in the beginning. It is amazing that you were able to find a mentor who is not in your prospective field but still manages to have a variety of resources for you. How were you able to manage obtaining that specific mentor? How did you go about asking her to be your mentor? Do you feel as if she was reluctant to do so at first, or do you feel as if she was very open to becoming your mentor? What advice would you have for someone who is looking for a mentor with valuable resources to help them on their career path?

  17. This was such a great read! I never had a mentor growing up. As a first-generation college student, I felt lost and sometimes confused as I was transitioning from high school to college. I then found great mentors through the years and received great advice. During that time, I had no idea how important it was to have someone believe in my own potential. When I was stressed out studying for exams, my mentor would encourage me to keep going and never quit.
    I thought it was very interesting to read that a mentor-mentee relationship requires a “two-way” approach. To this day, I babysit my mentor’s kids. I took my babysitting skills and converted it into a method of connecting with my mentor on a more personal level. It is absolutely important to be creative with your mentor. I did not realize that I was constructing that “two-way” strategy with my mentor until now. I can testify that it absolutely works!

    • Hi Prisma,

      That was nice to hear how you relate to the two-way approach of mentoring. Personally, I am still trying to hone that aspect in my relationship with my mentor. For some reason I have a hard time seeing what I can offer since she is already established in her career and family life. I will say however, that she says I provide a refreshing take on lifestyle because of our age-gap so you could say I help her grow in prospective about the world and society.

      I am happy you were able to find a mentor because going into college with advice from someone who has been in that position before you is really tough. But nonetheless you made it and developed meaningful relationships on the journey.

  18. Going back to college as a non-traditional undergraduate student more than a decade after my first college experience was challenging in many ways, especially because I am a mom of two school-aged children. None of what I do now in school and the kind of opportunities laid in front of me for my near future would have never been possible if I didn’t meet the right mentors at the very right time of my school life. Here, I would like to share two very unique mentor-mentee relationships I had experienced here at GSU.

    I met one of my mentors as my mentor and boss. I worked as an undergraduate research assistant with my mentor’s other Master’s and Ph.D. students. I had a symposium presentation at the end of that semester, and my mentor wanted me to have a rehearsal presentation in front of everyone in the lab 30 minutes before the actual presentation. The rehearsal turned out to be very bad that I wasn’t even nervous at all during the actual presentation because I was very upset with my mentor for making me go through all that just 30 minutes before the presentation. I thought that was the end of my relationship with my mentor. I recently applied to a short-term program. I filled out and submitted the application on the day of the deadline. The application required up to five references. I didn’t have time to ask for permission from my professors, so filled out their information first, then asked them later after I had already submitted their information, five of my previous professors. It turned out that my mentor was the very first one to write and submit the letter for me. I was stunned. I learned that no matter how cold and mean they may look sometimes, your mentor wish for your success as their own and care about you more than you know.

    I have another mentor. I had never signed an official mentor-mentee contract with this mentor. However, I was able to get help from this mentor by using technology. With permission, I used my mentor’s publications as my writing samples. I even asked my mentor to proofread my first few writings and received feedbacks to improve my papers. I asked for advice when I was faced with important academic decisions, and my mentor’s advice helped me make comparisons between different opportunities more clearly because the advice came from a person who was in my shoes not too long ago.

    It mattered to me when my professors told me I have abilities and potential. I had trust in them and their words when my professors said, “It’s never too late for you,” and “You can accomplish anything you put your mind to.”

    Yes, you have to be mindful of their very busy schedule and time, and you have to be polite when you communicate with them, but they will notice your dedication and integrity. So long as you are willing and able to earn what they have to offer, my experience tells me that all professors (at GSU) are willing to share 100% of what they have, their knowledge and experience, to their students. I still reach out to my previous professors from years ago whenever I need help, and I get responses from them. They are my mentors.

    • Hi Jane,
      Your comment was so inspiring! Sometimes our bad presentations turn into a life lesson for us. Your mentors played a huge factor in your decision to go back to school. This just shows the importance of having role models to inspire and encourage you. I applaud your hard work as a mom and graduate student! You can absolutely accomplish anything you put your mind to do.

  19. As someone who really hasn’t had a mentor his whole life, I can identify with the concept of a “win-win” relationship discussed in the passage. In Social communication, we often have an agenda we hope to get across. An Idea, A suggestion, A view on a topic, We’re constantly looking to show others our social competency, and even sometimes try to convince others to join our side of thinking. What happens when the other person isn’t able to see it from our view? It can lead to a broken relationship if it isn’t dealt with properly. I think the best way to deal with this issue to to seek to first understand, than to be understood. Whether it be a mentor, a interviewer, a colleague, Showing how something can benefit the other party as well as yourself is something, regardless of the social dynamic relationship, everyone can benefit from.

    • This is a very professional response Humza in regards to when the mentor cannot see your point of view. Rather than giving up and abandoning the mentorship because you feel like the mentor is not listening to you, you chose to re-evaluate the situation and set out to “first understand, than to be understood.” Actually listening and processing what our mentors tell us can be the difference between and good mentorship and a bad mentorship, as you’ve stated. I have first hand experience from the good and the bad mentorships. Whether or not it’s a good one or a bad one, there is still useful information to learn, absorb and grow from. My only question is that if you have made all the necessary efforts to understand your mentor, you’ve tried your best to listen, but what if you still feel like you’re not being heard? Do you stick it out or do you look for a new mentor? Where exactly do we draw the line in the “win-win” relationship?

    • Indeed we can all benefit from communicating better. Understanding others and being understood is very important especially in today’s society. Answering Michael’s points, if after building bridges of understanding one is still not being heard it might be time to rethink the mentoring relationship. A lesson in stubbornness cannot get you far in life and surely such a mentor is not looking out for your best interests. While there may not always be a “win-win” situation, there should always be understanding flowing in some direction and if you are not being heard after repeated efforts then there is most likely a “lose-lose” situation.

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