Exploring career mentoring and coaching
Exploring career mentoring and coaching

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

Exploring career mentoring and coaching

4 When mentoring or coaching don’t work

Described image
Figure 4 Sometimes things go wrong

Before you start to explore this subject in more detail, take a moment to consider how the mentoring relationship in Activity 4 went wrong.

Activity 4 Louise’s story

Allow about 15 minutes

Louise was a manager struggling to find time for her own development and she thought that having a mentor would magically solve that. She imagined a person who would be in regular contact, setting her goals, checking that she was achieving them and generally keeping her on track.

Her mentor was a very busy individual, with a new venture just beginning. He worked for a different organisation and they were matched by a mutual contact. Their relationship was a long distance one, conducted via telephone.

In their first conversation, Louise was unable to be clear about what she needed from him. She also failed to appreciate how much of his time she was expecting him to give up. They didn’t really make a connection and a time for the next conversation wasn’t set.

Louise very quickly fell back into her normal routine. She tried to contact him a couple of times, but he didn’t respond so the relationship did not develop any further.

Answer the following questions:

  • a.What went wrong?
  • b.Was it all Louise’s fault?
  • c.How could things have been improved?
  • d.What preparation could Louise have done before that first conversation?
You can type text here, but this facility requires a free OU account. Sign in or register.
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Comment

There may be many reasons why a mentoring relationship doesn’t take off, or perhaps fails a little further down the line. In this case, Louise didn’t really know what she wanted from her mentor and he probably shouldn’t have taken on that responsibility at a time of transition in his own career.

If they had communicated more effectively, this might have been a more productive relationship, with clearer expectations on both sides.

Being clear about what you need from your mentor will allow you to articulate your needs and help them to assess whether they can support you effectively.

MC_1

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has nearly 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus