How do you start out in a new mentoring relationship?
The most important, and perhaps challenging, job for you as a mentor is to establish a relationship with your mentee so they feel comfortable with you.
This forms the first stage of a 4 stage mentoring model called ‘REAL’ that the ROC + COACH community mentoring programme employs, and which a mentor goes through with their mentee. REAL stands for Relating, Exploring, Action Planning and Letting Go. The aim is for the mentor to become not so much a buddy but a ‘friend with purpose’, and this can take time.
During the ‘getting to know you’ stage it might be helpful to discuss expectations and interests with your mentee. Apart from really listening well, try to understand their story to date by getting to know their milestone events, successes, losses and anniversaries. These can act as doors to meaningful stories which can really give you an insight into who your mentee is as a unique individual. These milestones might relate to their family, education, work, or any illnesses or setbacks they might have had. In this way, as you learn your mentee’s story, you’ll be able to build up trust so you can continue to move through the mentoring model.
Bear in mind, this trust might be hard earned – you may one of few people they know who are supportive and non-judgemental. But the trust is a vital and rewarding part of the mentoring relationship.
If you’d like to know more about the mentoring programme, and perhaps set up a mentoring scheme yourself, please contact Andy Bell at [email protected]