What to Do if Your Career Coach or Mentor Isn’t a Good Match

BY Guest Contributor
bad fit with career coach

14 Jan, 2021

What to Do if Your Career Coach or Mentor Isn’t a Good Match

BY Guest Contributor

Having some type of career coach or mentor can be a great idea for a variety of reasons. One key benefit is that they can bring a new perspective to the work you’re doing on a daily basis. Consulting a career coach can help unlock the insight you need to make better and more informed choices moving forward… At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work most of the time.

Sometimes your career coach or mentor just isn’t a good match. That’s perfectly okay, provided that you keep a few key things in mind.

Breaking Up With Your Career Coach or Mentor: An Overview

If you discover that your career coach or mentor just isn’t a good fit for you personally, the most important thing you can do is reflect on why that’s the case.

What makes you feel like this relationship isn’t a good match? Is it that you hold different opinions on what your career looks like? Do they have a different style that is largely incompatible with your own? This can still be a valuable learning opportunity if you’re able to take the right message away from the experience. Not connecting with your coach or mentor isn’t always a failure – sometimes it’s just something that happens.

Next, discuss the situation with that mentor or career coach and see if it’s something that can be worked on. Be sure to state your concerns as clearly as possible. Give them the opportunity to respond to your feelings. Maybe this is something that they’ve also felt. In that case, you may be able to come to some type of compromise or adjust the trajectory of the relationship to create something more mutually beneficial in the future. If not, that’s okay too – it’s better to find out now than five years down the road.

Finally, be prepared to take some type of decisive action as soon as you’re able to do so. At this point, it’s key that you actively work on some type of a solution. The two of you will need to learn to work better together. If that doesn’t work, you might need to move on to a new person. The former is always preferred, but sometimes the latter is an inevitability. It’s always better to find out sooner rather than later to that end.

Treat It As a Learning Experience

Overall, everyone would love a career coach or mentor who can shepherd them onto the next stage in their career. Unfortunately, sometimes things just don’t work out as we hope they will. None of this is necessarily your fault, nor is it the fault of the other party. Having someone mentor you is nothing if not establishing a relationship. Sometimes relationships just don’t have as long of a life span as we’d like.

Do what you can to make sure you’re able to take some type of fresh perspective away from the experience. Try to be willing to reflect on the valuable lessons that the experience has presented to you. If you can do that, you’ll still be able to walk away with something positive.


About the Author: Stephen Lilley earned his Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Toledo in Toledo, Ohio. Over the last decade as a professional writer he has written more than 15,000 unique pieces of content in areas ranging from entertainment to technology to finance, real estate and more. 

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