The foundation for mentoring success

Communication and relationship building are critical

Two key elements are required in order for a mentoring relationship to be successful. In reality, these very same elements are the key to successful relationships in our personal lives. The two key elements are trusted relationships and effective communication.

I have recently seen examples of where the breakdown in effectively communicating with someone can result in the short or long term deterioration of the relationship. If that happens to be in your personal life, imagine the impact that will have on those relationships.

We need to be tuned into their body language and their responses or lack thereof to ensure that the message we want delivered is actually being understood.

We sometimes assume that the person we are talking with understands what we are saying, or worse, apparently knows what we are thinking. That is not always the case.

Be tuned in
We need to take that step back and ask ourselves before we send the message – how will this be received on the other end? Does it make sense?

We need to be tuned into their body language and their responses or lack thereof to ensure that the message we want delivered is actually being understood.

I have seen, in the professional environment, situations where not communicating effectively or not using active listening skills has contributed to performance deficiencies in an employee. Situations like this typically arise due to a manager or supervisor who does not communicate well and is not very good at building relationships with their employees.

Develop those relationships
As a manager or leader, you do need to develop relationships with those whom you work with. Failure to do so will have an impact on your ability to communicate in an effective manner.

As a manager or leader, you also need to consider whether your organisation has set itself up to be mentor ready, if a mentoring culture is what you are building on.

Effective communication is part of the effective mentoring process. Both participants in the relationship need to be able to send and receive information and to do so in an effective manner.

If you are the mentor, listening and hearing what is being said as well as focusing on the trigger words that are being delivered within the conversation will assist in guiding you to the next set of questions that you might ask. If you are unable to capture the trigger words, you will wander aimlessly in your conversation, without it having any meaning or substance.

Build trust
Trust, no matter how we look at it, is important in our day to day lives. In fact, I would go so far as to say that without trust, you have nothing.

Without trust, we cannot develop meaningful relationships with others – whether they be part of our personal and/or professional lives. Building a trusted relationship is a key element of a successful effective mentoring relationship. Without trust, you really do not have a relationship at all.

Effective mentoring requires effective communication which includes the active listening component and the ability to build trusted relationships.

To build that trust requires work by both participants in the mentoring process. If trust is not established, you will not be successful. I have had a mentoring relationship where we could not connect, and consequently, we did not build the level of trust required to make our relationship work and to be successful.

Work on your communication skills
Effective mentoring requires effective communication which includes the active listening component and the ability to build trusted relationships. Without either one of these elements, you will struggle in having a mentoring relationship with positive outcomes.

Take the time to work on your communication and relationship building skills. Take the time to get some form of training to assist you in this endeavour. Use the practice ground that you have in front of you today – both personal and professional as it will enhance your abilities in both of these areas.

After all, “can you afford not to?”

References

  1. http://www.joe.org/joe/2010december/tt8.php
  2. http://www.mentoring.org/downloads/mentoring_436.pdf

 

Headline image courtesy Skyler Smith@unsplash.com

Author: Doug Lawrence

Doug Lawrence is an International Certified Mentor Practitioner and International Certified Mentor Facilitator. Founder of TalentC®, a Human Resources solution provider. Doug was a member of the Board of Directors for the Saskatchewan Association of Human Resource Professionals. He assisted the University of Regina in the launch of the Hill School of Business Mentor Programme. Doug was a member of the Advisory Board for HR.com, Doug was also instrumental in developing a curriculum to train people on how to become effective mentors which has been accredited by a third party. His company was recently ranked 3rd in the International Partner and Provider category at the 2015 Leadership 500 Excellence Awards. Doug is the President of the Board of Directors for the ICM Society and a Vertical Distinct columnist on leadership and mentoring.

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