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Making the Connection

Posted by on February 6, 2013

A connected relationship opens up new possibilities.

At this point, your mentee sees you as a reliable adult friend and trusts you. As a trusted figure, you now have an enhanced ability to be a positive influence in his life. With this trusting relationship established, you can help your mentee to set meaningful, positive goals and seek out new interests and activities.

This is a good time to ask your mentee if he wants to brainstorm new goals for the mentoring relationship. There are a variety of goal-setting activities that can accommodate his personality and skills. For example, you can help him to start using a journal or blog to record his thoughts about the future, or you can support him in creating a poster or other work of art that captures his goals for the future.

  • Be a creative coach. Once your mentee has set one or more new goals, focus on supporting him to reach them.
  • Reflect and celebrate. Now that you understand your mentee on a deeper level, make an effort to acknowledge and praise the positive ways in which he’s developing. For example, you could say: “It took a lot of courage to ask your teacher for help when you realized that you were falling behind. Great job!” Or, “I saw how you held back and let Janet take the lead the other day. It was generous of you to share the limelight and support your friend.” You can also turn your acknowledgement into an open-ended question such as: “I noticed you stepped aside and let Janet take the lead. How did that feel? What made you decide to do that?”

Connect on the major – and minor – issues.

Most of your conversations with your mentee will be about everyday topics such as school, crushes, pastimes, etc. Your ease with this part of the relationship lays the groundwork for you to support your mentee when more critical issues are at stake. By confiding in you and discussing personal information with you – even when it’s negative – your mentee is demonstrating that she trusts you and has confidence in your ability and willingness to be there for her.

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