Mentorship Tip: Approach Each Mentorship Differently
It is great to draw on your own experiences as both a mentee and a mentor, but keep in mind that no two mentorship relationships are the same.
At the beginning of each match, take the time to assess what communication styles each person has, what success will look like for this particular mentee, establish expectations, and think about how this one-on-one time will be best utilized. What works for one mentee may not work for all! This is particularly true of mentees coming from different backgrounds. Mentoring a career-ready professional will look different to mentoring a young adult just starting out. Make sure to come in with a fresh perspective and an open-mind!
Mentorship Tip: Active Listening
Like any relationship, the mentor-mentee dynamic is at its best when both parties are feeling understood. Taking the time to practice active listening is a great way to show your mentee you are deeply engaged.
Active listening is a technique of listening and response that improves mutual understanding. It is also skill that requires practice. Active listening includes things like asking relevant questions, noticing your mentee’s body language, practicing open-mindedness, and providing feedback by reflecting on what has been said.
Asking clarifying questions and summarizing what the speaker is saying are great ways to illustrate that you are actively listening. Click here for more Active Listening tips >
Mentorship Tip: Don’t Assume, Ask!
Assuming is part of human nature. Since we can’t possibly know everything, we use assumptions to fill in the gaps and give us a more complete worldview.
When a new mentor-mentee match meets for the first time, each half of the partnership may come in with some background information, which might lead to some more assumptions or preconceived notions about each other.
It is important to never make guesses or assumptions about your mentee’s experience or knowledge. Clear communication will only help the relationship grow. Asking clear questions can help identify gaps in knowledge, or, conversely, prevent you from explaining something that the mentee already knows. Just ask!
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