Mentoring is a relationship not a program

“A lot of companies’ structured mentoring programs have failed as they have tried to put structure to something that is basically a relationship…” (Investment News)


It’s great to be promoted. You now have a larger audience to experience failure with and in front of.

Reflecting on my first promotion to the position of Night-shift Supervisor, I can see more than a few mistakes. The wheels did not come off the wagon.

My second promotion to Operations Manager was a bit different. At the time, I wish I had a mentor. My immediate boss seemed more inclined to doing what he could to pull the wheels off. Yet, in hindsight, I think he was just practising his version of tough love.   I’m no longer resentful. I really liked him. And still do. I wonder what he’s up to now?

I left the position rather than experience the pleasure of being thrown under the bus. Would a structured mentoring program have helped me thrive and survive?  Would I have been well served by program that teamed me with a more seasoned manager?

A poor system will always derail even the best performer. The system I managed was new and full of bugs. However, I like to take ownership of my past. If I could go back in time, here’s what I would do differently. Forget about wishing for a mentor and just go find one.

I would go start a relationship with someone more seasoned. I’d watch them. Engage them in conversation. Get them talking! Listen to their war stories! And, hold them as my secret mentor. A poor system will always derail even the best performer. Even so, let it not be for a want of trying.


“Millennials want mentoring, expert says; But it works better in an informal setting, companies have found.” Investment News 24 June 2013: 0004. Academic OneFile. Web. 15 Nov. 2013.