2 responses to “Some Thoughts on Mentoring”

  1. GEARS

    I think it’s very useful to establish some basic ground rules. I’ve blogged about this on my normal site (http://gears-tt.blogspot.com/2011/03/advisor-advisee-expectations.html if interested).

    I think it’s actually easier to seek out your mentor once you know what you want. (I know that sounds dumb.) But it may help to do some mentoring of your own first. Generally, you’ll treat your mentee how you would like to be treated and from that, you’ll figure out what you’re looking for.

    With that said, it’s still hard to find the right mentor and I don’t think you will find 100% of what you’re looking for in one person. You may need several mentors with whom you only discuss one or two things and seek out other mentors that might be able to help you in other areas.

  2. Taylor Michaels

    Thinking of my career retrospectively, you have a great point. Almost none of my supervisors were mentors. Maybe one or two, and then only in a minor capacity.

    I never thought about it before, but wouldn’t it have been better if someone had taken up that role? Of course. Why should each young engineer have to seek out his or her teachers? And why should those teachers not get credit for what they have done?

    My mentors were departmental experts. Fluid flow, heat transfer, distillation. Whatever I needed at the time. Sad when you think about it. Mentoring should be a supervisory requirement. Supervisors should be evaluated on their mentoring ability.

    My current career is writing. Who are my mentors? Books, internet articles, the school of hard knocks. The environment of eBooks is changing so quickly that I don’t really think there are any experts, just a lot of opinions. Maybe my career as an engineer was good preparation for a field with much theory and little practical knowledge.