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Dos and Donts of Mentoring

Download the Dos and Don’ts of Mentoring


  • Do work for gradual progress, not “F” directly to “A”.
  • Do take time to establish a rapport with your mentee.
  • Do focus on one area, subject or problem at a time.
  • Do be aware of limitations. You cannot change your mentee’s home situation.
  • Do remember that everyone has strengths.
  • Do be aware that your mentee’s value system may be different from yours.
  • Do report any harmful behavior.
  • Do be aware and understanding of cultural differences.
  • Do remember that listening is the supreme act of caring.
  • Do realize that you may not be able to affect change. Ultimately, the responsibility for change lies within your mentee.
  • Do be a positive role model.
  • Do help your mentee set goals and reinforce their successes.
  • Do keep meetings confidential.
  • Listen, be supportive and have patience.


  • Don’t be judgmental.
  • Don’t be another parent or teacher.  
  • Don’t forget your own adolescence.
  • Don’t expect quick changes in attitudes or academics.
  • Don’t be discouraged if your mentee’s progress does not meet your expectations.
  • Don’t be discouraged if things get worse before getting better – your mentee may be testing you.
  • Don’t feel awkward with silences. Use this time to think and make choices.
  • Don’t take ownership of the problem. The problem belongs to your mentee.
  • Don’t wait for your mentee to initiate conversation or suggest activities.
  • Don’t become overly involved. Beware of your boundaries.
  • Don’t feel like you have to know all the answers.