27 Feb Mentoring with Heart
Growing up, I always enjoyed the Cheerios commercials. It was fun to see the cute bee going around helping individuals take care of one of their most precious commodities, their heart. In February, it seemed as though I would see an influx of these commercials, to support heart health month. The unique ingredients in Cheerios cereal help your heart. It’s made of the right stuff. Similarly, it is vital that our mentoring relationships have healthy ingredients to ensure that they are nourishing our professional lives. Building this healthy dynamic requires intentionality. While you may be eager, like the Cheerios’ bee, to start the mentorship journey, you want to ensure that it has a healthy foundation.
Listed below are some ways to establish a healthy mentoring relationship:
Set expectations. The mentor and mentee should understand the expectations within the mentoring experience. Establish time expectations, the goals of the mentoring experience, and what can be offered. A mentor and mentee both knowing what they want, what they can give, and what is expected will ensure that the experience is time well spent for all.
Define roles. The role of a mentor/mentee is much different than that of a supervisor, friend, therapist, spiritual advisor, etc. While the mentor may interact in ways that remind the mentee of people that serve in these roles, there should be a clear distinction between what the mentor provides. Mentors and mentees should be clear on the role they will play with one another and how to establish boundaries. This is especially critical when the mentorship develops organically. You want to ensure that the mentoring relationship doesn’t turn into a consistent venting session or intervention, versus helping you gain knowledge, skills, and exposure to thrive professionally.
Build trust. A healthy mentoring relationship hinges on trust. Exercise active listening to ensure that you are fully engaging in the mentorship experience. Commit to being open, honest and vulnerable even when it’s uncomfortable. By doing so, it will enrich the experience and bond between the mentor and mentee.
For more information and resources from eMentorConnect on how to establish and cultivate a healthy mentoring program visit our blog.