Mentoring Through Difficult Conversations

During the development of mentoring relationships, sometimes mentors must decide to offer constructive criticism or not. The obstacles to these productive conversations are described as: protective hesitation and protective defensiveness.

Protective Hesitation– the tendency to not offer critical feedback and information for fear of offending the other person
Protective Defensiveness– the tendency to build personal walls to avoid critical feedback out of the fear of being offended, therefore not receiving important information from the other person.

We invite you to watch Stacy Blake-Beard, Professor of Management at Simmons College as she offers advice on overcoming these roadblocks and cultivating a mutually empowering mentoring relationship.  This video is courtesy of Women’s Leadership Lab Stanford University.

“We’re drawn to people who are like us.  We gravitate towards those who have similar experiences, who look like us, to whom we can connect.  But we need to figure out, how do we move beyond what we see on the surface to underlying similarities.”