A mentoring relationship is a two-way street. It can’t be driven solely by the mentor, nor can it be totally steered by the mentee. The two must work in tandem to reach their mutual destination of personal success. If you’re looking to be a mentor, or if you’re already currently mentoring someone, you should consistently be looking for ways to improve your mentoring relationship.
Here, we have three incredible ways to improve your mentorship relationship, no matter where you are in your journey.
Eliminate “Always” and “Never” From Your Vocabulary
In any relationship, the words “always” and “never” are pretty powerful. They can be whipped around to sting and burn, or they can be used to uplift and celebrate. That dual-edged nature of the words is what makes them so dangerous, so volatile, and so limiting.
If you tell your mentor that they “always” behave in a certain way, you’ll guarantee that they’ll not only continue in that fashion, but they may also resent you for that implication. Even if you meant it positively, you may engender a resting-on-their-laurels mentality. They may think that they don’t have to try as hard because you’ll just assume that they always perform at a certain caliber; there’s no reason for them to strive for more. The same logic applies to “never.” Never limits a mentee’s ability to overcome adversity.
Help your mentees to triumph over challenges and learn more about themselves always by never constricting them to “never” or “always.”
Build Trust with Your Mentee One Day at a Time
Trust is not implicit. It’s not a given: it’s something that has to be built and earned one day at a time. In a mentorship situation, it’s especially important to develop that trust over a longer period. You can’t rush out of the gate, assuming that your mentee trusts that you have their best interests at heart.
The best way to build that trust? It may seem way too commonsensical, but the truth is: the best way to build trust is to be trustworthy. Say what you mean and mean what you say. When you follow through on your promises, one after the other, you naturally build a positive rapport. You don’t have to make big promises, but you do have to prove yourself in some way. Start small, and work your way up, and before you know it, you’ll have an amazing mentoring relationship with someone you consider to be a close confidante as well.
Cultivate a Positive Attitude as a Mentor
Though mentoring is a two-way street, the mentor definitely takes the wheel for the first part of the journey. It’s up to the mentor to establish the atmosphere and initial direction of the mentoring relationship.
The best mentoring relationships are the ones whose foundations are positive. Thus, it’s vitally important to cultivate a positive attitude as a mentor. You’ll find that adopting a sunny disposition when dealing with a mentee will have a domino effect. Your positive attitude will catch on with your mentee, who will in turn pay that positivity forward, and that initial spark will light a fire that will spread the whole world around.