What is a Good Consulting Mentee?

Introduction to Consulting What is a Good Consulting Mentee?

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What can Darth Vader from Star Wars and monkeys in Africa teach you about effective mentoring? This podcast touches on those things which define a good mentee both in management consulting and for clients seeking a consulting career. The podcast describes the attributes of both an effective mentee and mentor, and the typical behavior of a “good” and “bad” mentee. Surprisingly, a good mentee should actually give you a small headache.

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2 responses to What is a Good Consulting Mentee?

  1. Davor,

    Good question. There has to be a line. This is where I draw it:

    1) The amount of advice I provide is not important. I just do not like providing advice on the same issue or item. I need to see the mentee is taking the advice and moving things forward, and our discussions are about newer challenges even if it is on the same topic. To use the example in the podcast again, the Chinese mentee is good at that. I feel we are making strong progress.

    To be clear. We are not discussing the same things as you allude to above. The mentee improves and handles older issues and we move onto new items. Therefore the mentee is not dependent, but is actually developing so that he/she is now able to deal with more complex development areas.

    2) I need to see progress – real and fast progress.. The Chinese lady in question coincidentally sent me an email an hour ago detailing the steps she was taking to act on the feedback I provided in our last call on Sunday. These were specific acts as opposed to plans to act. That is important for me – I need to see action.

    3) Trust is important. If a mentee proves they cannot be trusted than the relationship can rarely be developed further.

    4) Commitment is important too. I routinely advise mentees not to have children early on or even be involved in relationships. If I feel they are not as committed to their careers as I am, then there is no point in helping them since they have very different plans/ambitions. If you have children or get married, provided it does not alter your ambition, then you are fine.

    Michael

  2. It is impressive to listen the podcast on your level of involvement in mentoring/teaching and how much you immerse yourself in advising other people.

    However, where do you draw the line as a mentor?

    I am asking because you mentioned that even if your mentees did something bad, the example used was that even if they shot someone, you would like them to contact you to advise them on how to deal with the situation, or the Chinese lady who discusses frequently good and bad things happening to her and seeks for your advice on how to deal with the situation.
    My thinking is that a good mentor should be able to strengthen the mentee to deal with his/hers wrong doings, issues or even problems on their own feet without the need to seek mentor’s advise on the topic.
    By seeking advice frequently from the mentor, i would infer that the mentee becomes dependent on the guidance of the mentor and loses capability and confidence to judge independently on the next steps on his/her own feet.

    How do you draw the line not to make mentee overly dependent on the mentor?

    off topic: Would you know how the word “Mentor” arose e.g. who was the very first mentor after whom the expression was made?

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