The dark side of mentoring

Year: 1994

Author: Long, Janette

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

A common theme that emerges from the literature is that mentoring is a beneficial and desirable process that abounds with rewards not only for participants but for the organisation as well. From a review of approximately 50 articles found within the ERIC database using the key words of mentoring and education, it was found by the author that an image was generally presented of a glowing picture of the wonders of mentoring for the advancement of personal and professional goals for all participants. However, a common finding from the literature reviewed reveals that there is a lack of awareness from many researchers about the concerns of mentoring and the ambivalence connected with institutionalised or formal mentoring programmes.

Some of the problems identified include unsuccessful matching of participants, personality and gender conflicts, role mismanagement and the time constraints and commitment that this type of relationship demands. As a result, this paper seeks to analyse the other side of the mentoring experience by examining some of these concerns and limitations as identified by mentors and mentees who have experienced the process and reflected on its outcomes. The "dark side of mentoring" has been focused upon so that potential candidates who seek to embrace this type of relationship may critically evaluate the process before the "bonus bandwagon" of mentoring is embraced.