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Mentoring and Building Trust






The ability to build trust very early in a mentoring relationship is one if not the primary goal of an effective mentor. There are times when this seems to happen naturally and then there are the times where it is a challenge. What are some of the factors that can influence how this journey progresses.

What I have found is that our upbringing can have some influence on our ability to build trust whether as a mentor or a mentee. I have worked with some mentees that have had more than their fair share of challenges in their life and as a result they were not receptive to building trust. The challenge then is to find a way for that to happen and if nothing else to demonstrate your willingness to build and share a trusting relationship.

I have worked with some people who were needing a relationship that provided them with trust and they were very receptive to sharing in order to begin that journey. I would often ask myself the question what I did differently that resulted in this mentoring relationship progressing forward so quickly. I believe that with some people you are able to build the trust quickly as there is a stronger connection or chemistry in place. Perhaps it is also that need that drives the building of trust. I think back to my younger years and how I had limited relationships on a personal and professional basis. Today I am blessed with having many relationship on a personal and professional basis and it fuels my need for interaction with people. Something that was missing in my younger years. Developing and maintaining relationships is one of my core values.

I recall a mentoring session from some time ago where I had asked the person I was spending time with in a mentoring relationship what was the value that they got from our time together. Their response was not what I had expected. They indicated that they felt safe in my presence and that it somehow fueled their self-esteem. The level of trust that they had with me as their mentor was very high and it continues today. We continue to meet periodically and value continues to be realized for both of us. I honestly don’t think the value would be there if we had not taken time to build trust in the first instance.

When you are about to embark on a mentoring relationship/arrangement take the time to build a level of trust that you both are comfortable with. Be prepared to share because when you do so you demonstrate that you are human as well. Great leaders are not afraid to show their vulnerability. The same can be said for great mentors. I am not afraid to show my vulnerability and neither should you.

Trusted relationships are the cornerstone to great mentoring experiences. Take the time to listen, hear and observe the signs that you are building that trust and you will be rewarded with a deeper, richer mentoring experience for you and for the person that you are spending time with. It is time to embrace “The Gift of Mentoring”.