Mentoring Myths and Realities: Part One - Take the Test

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A mentor gives advice and guides someone who is less experienced and successful, i.e., a mentee or protégé.

Mentoring is a gift and a privilege. To be asked by someone for mentoring means that person sees you as a role model and believes your wisdom can help he/she grow and be more successful. A mentoring relationship can yield significant dividends for both the mentor and the protégé. Mentoring can be an excellent way for a protégé to develop skills, gain experience, receive feedback, and get exposure to people, processes, and happenings that they might not in the course of their daily work. Most mentors report significant benefits for themselves as well.

What does a fantastic mentor do? When people are asked to describe their most amazing mentors, there were several characteristics most often mentioned.

Typically the types of developmental areas protégés and mentors pursue include:

  • Difficult decisions
  • Organizational politics
  • Leadership challenges
  • Work-life balance challenges
  • Unfamiliar functional/technical skills (i.e., sales, finance, operations, business)
  • Handling difficult situations/conflict
  • Working with various levels of management
  • Career path guidance

Take the Quiz

The following quiz can be used by both the mentor and protégé before beginning a mentoring relationship. While the “right” answers may be debatable, the real benefit is when the two parties sit down to discuss their responses as a way to establish clear expectations and boundaries.

Circle either T or F for each question:

  1. It is best if the protégé selects mentors. T F
  2. Mentors and protégés usually work together for many years. T F
  3. Mentors and protégé pairings work out best when they have similar interests and styles. T F
  4. Mentoring works best when it is an informal process. T F
  5. It is better if the protégé’s boss is not his/her mentor. T F
  6. It is better if the mentor is outside of the protégé’s direct organization. T F
  7. Same-gender pairings usually work out best for a mentoring relationship. T F
  8. Mentoring can help acclimate the protégé to a new environment. T F
  1. A mentor can sponsor and coach activities that will foster and promote growth. T F
  2. Mentoring usually works best without any processes to get in the way. T F
  3. Mentoring is only for fast-trackers. T F
  4. Mentoring is one way of developing protégé’s skills. T F
  5. Mentoring works best when the mentor and protégé are in different fields. T F
  6. One of the primary roles of a mentor is a counselor. T F
  7. Mentoring is a significant investment of time for the mentor. T F
  8. To be successful, mentoring must be done face-to-face. T F
  1. Anyone can be a successful mentor. T F
  2. Mentors generally report receiving significant benefits of working with a protégé. T F
  3. Protégés generally earn more money than their peers in similar positions. T F
  4. Protégés are generally more satisfied with their careers than their non-mentored peers. T F
  5. The mentor/protégé relationship should be open so that the protégé can talk about any subject. T F
  6. Everything in the mentor/protégé relationship should be focused on the issue of the development of the protégé. T F
  1. Mentoring should be listed on the protégé’s Individual Development Plan. T F
  2. The protégé’s boss is not really involved in the mentoring process. T F

How did you do? Check your responses against the answer key. You may find some of the answers surprising.