Are you mentoring or rescuing?

leadership mentoring Jul 28, 2020

A very well-meaning leader wanted some advice this week on how to advise an excellent young employee that the way she dressed and responded to situations was potentially holding her back. 

This leader cared a lot and wanted so much to be able to help this young woman to see her potential.  

He was struggling with the right words to say to her to address this very personal issue.

My suggestion was to try a completely different tack. What if you let her work out what she wants to do and how she is going to get there?  Ultimately she needs to work this out herself; this is her lesson to learn.  You can’t 'fix' this situation. 

We often end up 'rescuing' people because we can see their potential or we can see a way to correct a situation.  In those moments we are not mentoring people, we are not empowering them, we are 'saving' them from themselves.  Which means, and it’s hard to hear, that we are acting as though we are superior to...

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