I am all about mentoring. I love the idea of bringing graduates, interns, new professional along to learn new skills, open their mind to a new path to create a solution, income and have success.
There is a neon yellow line with sirens line flashing between mentoring and spoon-feeding people who are too lazy to try to find the answers on their own. It's not entirely their fault. I happen to know a ton of helicopter parents BREEDING this method of giving answers to their children - many of whom are over 20. Perhaps it's because I came from a larger family, was the baby of six, or just because that's what you do - figure it OUT. Try it at least.
Here's the question that came to me from a recent college graduate moving to my area. He was seeking networking ideas. He graduated with a MARKETING and COMMUNICATIONS degree.
GRAD: I'm moving to your area in September and am trying to build connections in the area. Would you have any advice for a recent college grad who is after a career in marketing? ...Also if you have any suggestions regarding resources I can use to expand my practical know-how of the industry, that would be wonderful as well.
ME: Local marketing events and conferences are a GREAT way to get to know some folks, especially if you... well... help MARKET them and the event through social media. Great way to show off your skills and create connections here in town.
GRAD: Thanks! Where would I look for postings of upcoming events of that sort?
ME: Search for Portland networking events and groups on social media venues.
I'm tackling the first part of his inquiry about advice and suggestions to expand. As for the rest, I'm wondering what they are teaching these folks in college. Are there no outside the box thinking professors? I see this in all fields, in stores, in the park, anywhere where more than two people are gathered, there are many times one of the two needs an answer or assistance, but hasn't done anything to TRY to find the answer on their own.
Our kids can cook. They are nine and 12. They can clean, do their laundry, look answers up on Google, in the dictionary and thesaurus. Our son can build any Lego thing with the instructions the first time, take it apart and create five more solutions from the same set that same day. Our daughter can compare notes on a current topic between reliable sources she's vetted to come up with a compiled conclusion or truth. We trained them by delaying their answers, "I'll get to you in a bit, I need to complete the task I'm working on." Usually they tire of waiting and find their own answers, create their own meal with their limited repertoire of recipes, but they solve it. I'll admit, there are times they prefer to wait until I'm willing to help them. Sometimes they just want a "hug" from Mom and my making oatmeal is their morning hug (after the real one). I get that. Is that what this is about, more folks need to know they are seen, that someone cares about them, or is it a bad habit? Is it laziness? Is is manipulation to gain control of a situation by sucking your time with things they can obviously do, but don't feel like figuring it out?
Do them and society a favor - make them figure it out, or at least don't participate in the spoon-feeding. It will take practice. Sometimes when the answers are at the front of our brains, they spew out like a fountain of knowledge. Well, how did those answers get there? YOU LEARNED THEM BY DOING. The feeling of accomplishment you receive when you find your own answers is EMPOWERING! Give children, teens, interns, grads and others the gift of that respect that they are capable of finding their own answers. They may fail, they may not come to the same conclusion you did or prefer, but they will learn. You did.
This is on you. They haven't been taught at home, so now it's our turn. Be tough. They are capable. Let them know you believe in their abilities and capabilities by having them figure out their own answers and paths. If they ask for your opinion to review their results later, then you can move it to the mentoring phase.
Mentoring is NOT a to-do list and handbook of stock answers.