longer based on the leader-follower hierarchy, mentoring is becoming
a two-way relationship where both parties learn, share, question,
challenge, and change. The foundation of these growth-enhancing activities
is a relationship of mutual trust. Trust can be built in some or all
of the following five key areas:
we seek the common ground of shared experience as a first step in
understanding one another and as a basis for communication. This could
include common background, interests, opinions, values, people, or
there must be an honest commitment to and interest in the other person.
This is best demonstrated by devoting time and by being a sincere,
this means being dependable in who we are and what we do. It can be
experienced within the mentoring relationship and also observed in
dealings with others.
individual skills and gifts are identified, evaluated and shared with
each other. Synergy is developed through sharing insights and new
ideas. Individual egos are put aside as help is freely requested and
respect for confidentiality must be given while maintaining a careful
balance with individual values. These expectations must be established
early in the relationship and reestablished as situations present
themselves. Define clear boundaries, since it can be difficult to
recover from failure to deliver on expectations
the temptation to project your own feelings about similar experiences
on your mentee. Don't try to solve problems for the mentee. Help
him/her develop alternative solutions with strengths and weaknesses
of each. Being an effective listener means listening non-defensively:
a willingness to hear what you might not like
rejecting other's ideas just because you disagree with them
to grasp how ideas make sense to someone else even when they don't
the urge to talk or interrupt the speaker
debating the speaker silently in your mind while he/she is talking
there is usually more than one way of looking at things
there are far fewer "facts" and far more uncertainties and
questions to be explored
the exchange of ideas more than ideas themselves
that if you don't listen, further communication is rather futile
"empathy not sympathy", when listening to your mentee.
Sympathy is essentially comparing your experience with another's:
"Yes, I felt that way, too, and let me tell you about it .
. ." Empathy means "walking in another's shoes,"
going with their thinking and feeling in a nonjudgmental way. In
demonstrating true empathy, you have to get your own ego out of
the way; you may have to listen to ideas or feelings that you do
not agree with.