Twelve Habits of the Toxic Mentee

by David Clutterbuck
Copyright David Clutterbuck

A light-hearted look at how not to be a mentee!

  1. Bring to the first formal meeting a long shopping list of things you want the mentor to do for you
  2. Expect the mentor to be available for you, whenever you want them (heroes never need sleep!)
  3. Regard the mentor as your prime source of gossip to pass on
  4. Expect the mentor always to have the answer - that's why they are more senior
  5. Expect the mentor to decide when to meet and what to talk about
  6. Boast about the relationship to your colleagues at every opportunity
  7. Never challenge what the mentor says - s/he is paid to know best
  8. Blame the mentor whenever advice doesn't work out - s/he should have known better
  9. Treat mentoring sessions as mobile - the easiest item in the diary to move at the last minute
  10. Enjoy the opportunity to have a good moan or whinge, whenever you meet - especially if no-one else will listen to you
  11. Make it clear to the mentor that you want to be just like them - adopt their style of speaking, dress and posture
  12. Never commit to doing anything as a result of the mentoring session. If, by accident, you do, simply forget to follow the commitment up. (Why spoil the fun of discussion with outcomes?)

  13. David Clutterbuck is a founder director of the European Mentoring Centre and an acclaimed author on mentoring and organisational learning. He can be contacted on 01628 661919 or via