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Thu 8 Jan 2015 12:11 PM

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Sallyann asks: How do you say ‘no’ to a would-be mentee?

Dear Badr, After my recent presentation at a public institution in Dubai, a number of younger participants immediately approached me with the question to mentor them. In my opinion, mentoring is a two-sided relationship and you cannot just approach someone with that question. How do you say ‘no’ to somebody who asks you this question out of the blue? Thank you, Sallyann

Hi Sallyann,

 

It’s not easy to say no in many situations, not just this one.

 

There’s obviously a reason why you may not choose to mentor someone. If it’s due to your own time and availability, then it should be easier and more understandable for you to say no. If, however, you feel it’s due to the relationship not being a two-way street, meaning you probably feel the person who approached isn’t prepared to be mentored, then point that out.

 

Give that person candid and honest feedback on their lack of readiness for mentorship, give them some advice on how to be better prepared, and ask them to get back in touch when they’re ready.

 

Good luck,

Badr