Being a mentor (and a mentee) often means working with and building relationships with members of other generations — both older and younger. Here’s your go-to mentoring guide for cross-generational mentoring relationships:

What They’re Looking For

What to Expect

Gen Y Mentors are drawn to mentoring because they see growth and development as a priority.

They’re eager to help others and learn for themselves.

They prefer positive, collaborative, achievement-oriented mentees who will take them seriously.



  • To be asked your opinion and your thinking.
  • To be valued for your experience and perspective.
  • To hear the truth.
  • To have goals broken into doable pieces with deadlines, with resources and the information you need to achieve your goals.
  • To be challenged, to be given “think outside the box” assignments and a variety of learning opportunities.
  • To provide suggestions on how to better use technology.
  • To receive regular feedback, as well as praise and affirmation.
  • To participate in a special relationship that is personal, fun and engaging.
Gen X Mentors value individuality.

They seek work/life balance because they value all their relationships.

They are whizzes at multitasking, and can process lots of information simultaneously.

They expect work to provide challenges and dislike micromanagement.

Feedback on performance and recognition are important to them.


  • To receive clear expectations.
  • To have freedom to do your work without micromanagement.
  • To receive feedback regularly.
  • To enjoy a trusting and collegial relationship.
  • To be encouraged to be creative and take initiative.
  • To be recognized for your personal achievements.
  • To have opportunities to demonstrate your own competence.
  • To stay in contact.
Boomer Mentors seek innovative ways to work, handle responsibilities and deal with new roles.

They’re drawn to mentoring to share their subject matter expertise and experience.

They see mentoring as a way of helping them close their own knowledge gaps, especially in areas of technology.

They value individual achievement, recognition and feedback.


  • To be challenged.
  • To contribute fresh ideas and be offered new opportunities.
  • To be acknowledged for your accomplishments, hard work and effort.
  • To learn in fresh and interesting ways.
  • To receive clear communication without techno-jargon.
  • To make a personal and professional connection.
  • To be respected by a collaborative partner.