#142: How to Tell if You Are Mentoring or Meddling

Either way, your mistakes will matter

Are you mentoring or meddling? A trick question for any parent, friend or colleague. Here’s how to tell.

You are mentoring if you use your experience to guide someone who is less experienced. The aim is to help the less experienced person play a ‘better’ role or to lead a ‘better’ life.

And there’s the catch! What is ‘better’?

Meddling happens because you don’t know. You meddle when you try to change or to control what you see as wrong or inappropriate for the other person. You mentor when you support the other person into making meaningful life choices, appropriate to her situation and circumstances, not to yours.

Can you only mentor if you have already mastered? Not necessarily. We teach best that which we have yet to learn. Therefore, to be an effective mentor, what matters are the mistakes you are still making.

But only if you admit that they are mistakes.

Welcome to my side of the nonsense divide.