It is a mentor’s artful balance between support and challenge that creates the momentum that enables the mentees to make significant progress toward achieving his or her goals. Mentors can challenge mentees by identifying specific tasks, engaging in substantive conversation with mentees, suggesting dichotomies, constructing hypotheses, and setting high standards. These activities help a mentee to reach beyond their comfort level: to stretch, to do things they haven’t done before, to take risks and to explore new ways of thinking, acting and working.  For example, a mentor might suggest different scenarios to teach a mentee how to advocate for him or herself, how to present ideas more forcibly, how to confront colleagues when necessary, or how to navigate difficult conversations.

 What kind of stretch assignments are you giving?

How are you making your conversations engaging and substantive?

In what ways are you challenging your mentee to try new approaches?