Make The Most Of Your Relationship

Why Mentorships Fail

“Failure is an inescapable part of life and a critically important part of any successful life” – Tal Ben-Shahar

While every relationship is different, there are a few key reasons why mentorships fail.

Starting something new can be an exciting endeavour. However, it is challenging and can be extremely frustrating and disheartening to fail, especially when you have a plan in place to help you succeed. This can be even more difficult when you are trying to establish or maintain a mentorship. So, what can cause a mentorship to fail?

It is a well-known fact that mentorships can have a positive impact on an individual’s personal and professional growth. In fact, studies have shown that people with mentors become more confident, reach their goals better and feel more satisfied in their personal or career journey.

Despite this, there are many mentorship relationships that fail to meet expectations. Here, we will discuss some of the most common reasons for mentorship failure and how you can avoid them and make the most out of your relationship.

What Is A Failure?

By definition, a failure is typically defined as an event or outcome that did not meet expectations or achieve desired outcomes. This can occur at any stage of a mentorship relationship, whether it is in the early stages when establishing goals and expectations, or later on when efforts are focused on refining these goals and assessing progress.

But how do you determine a mentoring failure? While unique to everyone, some ways to determine a failing relationship include:

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Mitigating Mentoring Failure

There are a few key ways you can avoid mentoring failure and make the most of your relationship. The first and most important is to recognise the signs of a failing relationship and identify what is causing the issue.


Every successful mentorship relationship starts with clear, measurable goals. If you are not clear about what your professional or personal goals are from the outset, this could result in a failing relationship. Both the mentor and mentee should have a good understanding of why they are working together and what they hope to achieve.

It is important to communicate these clearly and regularly throughout the course of the relationship so that both parties are aligned and can work together to achieve progress periodically.

As such, both mentor and mentee must sit down and work together to define, refine and assess their goals as the relationship progresses. They should also regularly revisit these goals to ensure that they are still in line with each other’s objectives.

Poor Matching

Another common reason many mentorships fail is due to poor matching. This happens when the mentor and mentee are not compatible with each other in terms of their working styles, personalities or objectives.

It is important to make sure that both parties are a good fit for each other before starting the relationship so that they can avoid any mismatched expectations down the line.

A good way to ensure compatibility is by having an initial meeting. This not only gives both parties a chance to meet each other and assess if they are a good match, but it also provides an opportunity to discuss their goals and objectives for the mentorship relationship.

The right mentor can be found through online mentoring platforms such as Ruffle Mentoring. Here you can search for a successful mentor who aligns with your values, interests and goals.

Lack Of Communication

Communication is key to any successful relationship and this also applies to mentoring relationships. If there is a lack of communication between the mentor and mentee, this can result in misunderstandings, frustration and eventually a failed relationship.

To avoid this, it is important to set up regular communication channels from the outset. This can be done through weekly or monthly check-ins via phone, email or online telecommunication calls.

Both mentor and mentee should be willing to discuss any issues and problems they are having so that they can be addressed in a timely manner. Furthermore, both parties should feel comfortable giving and receiving feedback to help improve the quality of the relationship.

Lack of Feedback

One of the biggest problems with mentorships is that they often lack feedback. This can lead to both mentors and mentees operating in isolation, which is not conducive to growth or improvement. Without feedback, it’s difficult to know if you are making progress or if you are heading in the right direction.

To avoid this, it is important for both parties to provide regular feedback on their experience with the mentorship relationship. This helps identify any issues that may be causing a failing relationship, as well as identifying obstacles so both parties can develop a better strategy moving forward.

No Productive Sessions

If you find that your mentoring sessions are not productive, this is another sign that your relationship might be failing. A productive session should help both parties move closer to their goals.

This means that the mentor should provide useful advice and suggestions that the mentee can apply to their professional or personal life. The mentee, in turn, should come prepared with questions and feedback to help the mentor provide better advice.

If you find that your sessions are not productive or are lacking this valuable exchange of information, it could be a sign that your relationship is failing.

How You Can Avoid These Mistakes

The above common mistakes can easily make or break any mentoring relationship. Luckily, there are things you can do to avoid these mistakes and improve your chances of success.

If you are looking for a mentor who can help you achieve your goals, Ruffle Mentoring provides access to qualified female mentors who can give you the guidance and support you need to achieve your goals.

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