8 Tips to Maximize Your Mentoring Relationship

January 28, 2019

From improving employee engagement to filling knowledge gaps, mentoring has proven to be a reliable tool for career development. However, a mentoring relationship is only successful if all participants give 100%.

One way to show that you are putting all of your effort into the mentoring relationship is by paying attention to the way you interact with your mentor or mentee.


Below are 8 ways to improve these interpersonal skills that allow you to make the most out of your mentoring relationship.

Actively Listen

Listening is our most used communications skill, but most people only remember 25 to 50% of what they hear immediately after a presentation. During a mentoring relationship, you can show that you are engaged and listening by using different techniques. Nod in agreeance with your mentor/mentee, maintain eye contact, and summarize what you’ve just heard to show that you understand.

Increase Your Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is described by 4 stages: Understanding your emotions, managing your emotions, understanding others’ emotions, then managing others’ emotions. You’ll find that emotional intelligence comes in handy during a mentoring relationship when you have to diffuse a stressful situation.

Here are 6 ways to increase your emotional intelligence.

Observe Body Language

How much talking does your body do? Only 30 to 40% of our communication is verbal. 60 to 70% is shown through facial expressions, body position, and hand gestures. By observing your mentor/mentee’s body language, you get a good idea of what how they are feeling. This is helpful if the other participant doesn’t always say what’s on their mind.

Stimulate conversation

Ask open-ended questions that can start a conversation. It makes the mentoring relationship more interesting, leading to higher engagement. It also makes the relationship feel natural, so your mentor/mentee is more open to sharing personal stories and experiences.

Adapt to your Mentee’s Learning Style

Mentors: Each mentee has their preferred learning styles and each mentor has their preferred teaching styles, but it’s important that the mentor adapts to the mentee’s learning style. This should not be a compromise, as an individual’s success depends on how well they retain information.

If you have your mentee conform to your teaching style, the mentee will feel like they haven’t learned anything. This can ruin your credibility as a mentor in the future.

Enhance Problem-solving Skills

Problem-solving involves finding and executing the right methods to find the best possible solution. A good problem solver is focused on the “how do I fix this?” instead of lingering on the “what went wrong?”

Being able to solve problems prevents a mentoring relationship from heading in the wrong direction from reasons like miscommunication to conflicting personalities. Luckily, It is possible to enhance your problem-solving skills.

Use Constructive-Criticism

Feedback is always critical in a mentoring relationship, but this doesn’t just mean praise. Your mentor/mentee should also know their weaknesses, as they probably won’t know until you address it. If you want to maximize your mentoring relationship, provide the other participant with honest criticism.

Be Attentive

Mentors: Summarize and continuously ask your mentee if there is any information that they need repeated, or that they didn’t understand. This shows that you want them to ask questions rather than be confused.

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