In anticipation of starting the LLAMA mentoring program later this month, I’ve been reading up on mentorship programs. This book, Mentoring in Librarianship, is geared towards potential mentors, but I did get some good ideas from it.
Something in particular that I wanted to make a note of, was the idea that advice mentors give isn’t always followed. And that’s not a bad thing. It’s important for mentees to remember that they do not have to follow advice given to them. It’s simply advice – they can take it or leave it. I intend to fully take into consideration advice given to me by my mentor (that’s the whole point of the program!), but realize that sometimes that advice may not be good for me. Mentors need to realize that not every bit of advice will be helpful, accepted, and applied by their mentees, and that’s okay. Unheeded advice is not necessarily bad or unappreciated, it just doesn’t always work for everyone. Mentors should not stop giving advice because something was not accepted, and recognize that the mentee is just being mentored, not controlled. It could be a difficult pill to swallow. I sometimes get frustrated when the women I advise in Tri Sigma do not listen to my advice, but accept that they are adults, and can make their own decisions. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Either way, we both learn from the process. I hope my experience with the LLAMA mentoring program yields good advice, but I anticipate that there may be a time or two when my mentor’s advice just won’t work for me. And I don’t need to feel guilty about it. All in all, it should be an interesting experience.