As a mentor or mentee you might feel uncomfortable and be wondering if you are communicating effectively. To guide you through how to have a conversation with each other here are a few tips which will help you build a relationship with each other:

Tip: Listening

  • Verbal and non-verbal cues help to acknowledge that you are listening and understanding the conversation. In some cases, asking “what happened next?” or nodding your head are great indications of good listening skills.

Tip: Ask open-ended questions

  • This technique invites good discussions. An example of this is asking, “What three things do you like about your job?”
  • Try to avoid asking yes/no questions.

Tip: Use a mirroring technique

  • This technique avoids misunderstandings.
    Scenario A: Your mentee has just shared a challenging situation with you.
    The Mentor responds by saying “It sounds like you are struggling in these areas. Is this correct?”
    Scenario B: Your mentor suggests a solution to a challenge you are facing.
    The Mentee responds by saying “So it sounds like you are suggesting that I do X. Is this correct?”

Tip: Reflection

  • As a mentor, sharing your previous experience helps build the relationship, for example
    “I can relate to your situation, I have experienced something similar and remember being frustrated. I will share with you, what worked or didn’t work for me.”

Tip: Feedback

  • Use feedback to reinforce positive behavior and activities as well as to confront some inappropriate actions and behavior. The following are a few suggestions:
    Mentor says “You did a great job with the presentation, speaking clearly and making eye contact. It was a bit hard to hear you at the back of the room, but it comes with practice. Great job!”
    Avoid saying “You didn’t speak loudly enough, but otherwise the presentation went well.”