Keeping the relationship on track
All relationships require care and attention and a mentoring relationship is no different. Here are some of the basic things you should do to help ensure a healthy mentoring relationship:
• Attend scheduled meetings or notify your mentor in advance if you need to reschedule a meeting.
• Prepare meeting agendas and provide them to your mentor in advance, if the mentor wants them. Meeting agendas can serve as a useful way of keeping track of goals and progress.
• Be on time for meetings and be prepared.
• Be attentive at meetings – be prepared to listen.
• Ask for – and be open to – feedback.
• At each meeting tell your mentor about your progress since the last meeting. If you haven’t made progress, or feel you have nothing to report, this could be a sign of a hurdle and your mentor may help you find ways of getting over it.
• During the course of the relationship, actively ask for information and help as needed.
• Periodically review together whether you are both satisfied with the way the relationship is working. Discuss what is working well and what you might want to adjust (for example, how often you meet, how long meetings are, and so on).
• Express your appreciation for your mentor’s help and provide your mentor with positive feedback.
• Demonstrate that you have followed – or at least considered – the mentor’s suggestions.
• Complete assigned tasks.
IT'S ALL ABOUT TRUST...
Trust is the cornerstone of most interpersonal relationships. Often, the question of whether you trust someone is simply a gut feeling. But, there are behaviours that you can exhibit that build others’ trust in you and behaviours that can lessen others’ trust in you.
When is it over?
One important point about a healthy mentoring relationship that you should pay attention to is the question of when to end it. When you’ve reached your goals or if you or your mentor believe it’s time to move on, you should end the relationship. Formally ending the relationship – rather than having it just fade out – will help you maintain good relations going forward.