Successful Mentorship: How to Communicate Effectively With Your Mentor

In this article, we share our top 7 tips to ensure you’re communicating effectively with your mentor during your mentoring sessions.

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Effective communication should be something you strive for in all aspects of your life, including your personal relationships and your professional ones. Effective communication plays an important role in facilitating understanding and mutual respect among individuals.

But what even is effective communication? Simply put, effective communication can be defined as the process of exchanging ideas, thoughts and knowledge in a way that is not only understood with clarity but also purpose. When two people communicate effectively, both the sender and receiver feel satisfied and fulfilled with the meaningful transaction.

Communication comes in many forms such as verbal, non-verbal, written and visual and can happen via several methods, whether that’s through email or face-to-face meetings. When it comes to having effective communication with your mentor, it needs to be clear, correct, complete, concise and compassionate.

You might be wondering why you need to be communicating more effectively with your mentor, but there are a few key benefits. These include:

• Effective communication enhances understanding
• Effective communication helps build trust and respect with your mentor
• Effective communication improves productivity in mentoring sessions
• Effective communication enhances problem-solving abilities
• Effective communication boots your mongrel
• Effective communication prevents misinformation
• Effective communication supports relationships

These are just a few benefits of effective communication and some of the reasons why we believe effective communication needs to be a priority for all mentoring relationships. In this article, we share our top 7 tips to ensure you’re communicating effectively with your mentor during your mentoring sessions.

1. Focus on a Topic

To ensure your communication is as effective as it can be, you and your mentor need to set a focus point for every meeting to ensure you don’t go off-track. Whilst, it’s only natural to want to communicate about other things, and we do suggest this to help you build a longer-lasting relationship, we know how common it is for conversations between mentors and mentees to go in an opposite direction of the goals looking to be achieved. By having a topic to focus on for every meeting, not only are you using your time more wisely but also ensuring that you’re getting closer to each meeting to accomplishing your mentoring goals.

2. Be Clear and Concise

The key to effective communication is being clear and concise, which is why you need to make sure that you not only use straightforward language during your conversations with your mentor but that you’re able to convey your message clearly in both written and spoken communications. When you’re clear and concise, you’re saving time, improving understanding and also promoting a more engaging conversation. Clarity, when you communicate with your mentor, leaves less room for misinterpretation and allows for you to effectively share information without unneeded pieces or distractions.

3. Get Rid of Distractions

When it comes to your mentoring relationships, your mentor is taking valuable time to help you learn and grow, which is why you need to show them that you appreciate their willingness to support and guide you by removing any distractions. If you want to have impactful and effective conversations, then getting rid of distractions allows you to concentrate on the conversation and gain true value from it. Whether it’s by turning off your phone during an in-person mentoring meeting or just simply finding a quiet room in your house for your virtual mentoring session, removing distractions around you allows you to have more meaningful conversations where you not only show you respect your mentor but also can more deeply focus on the topic or agenda.

4. Set Mentoring Expectations

We suggest that at the start of any mentoring relationship, the mentor and mentee come together to discuss their expectations of the relationship. Unsurprisingly, setting expectations helps improve the effectiveness of communication for many reasons such as improved engagement and a more positive environment. At the start of the relationship, the mentor and mentee need to discuss what is expected from both participants and what is the purpose and goal of the relationship itself. When expectations are set at the start, it creates a shared understanding of goals and responsibilities. As mentioned, having a focus for each session gives you a topic to work towards and when you have expectations in place, it helps you discover what goals need to be achieved and helps guide the mentoring relationship. Discussing things such as the frequency and method of communication allows the relationship to stay focused.

5. Set a Time Budget

As suggested, when you set expectations with your mentor you should discuss the amount of time you plan to spend in the relationship, including the length of each session. Having a time budget allows you and your mentor to plan your interactions more effectively and ensures that both of your time is used efficiently. When you have a plan in place, it encourages you to have more meaningful and proactive conversations, to help you overcome the goals you have set for yourself. Remember, to always be respectful of the time you and your mentor have together and consider the importance of the topic before you schedule your meeting focused around it. If it’s something that can be resolved via email, then there is no need to meet up for an hour to discuss it.

6. Active Listening

Effective communication goes further than how you communicate, it’s also all about how you listen to what is being said. Your mentor wants to know that what they are teaching you is being heard and active listening is a key skill for effective communication in mentoring relationships. When you actively listen to what is being said, you're absorbing the information being provided to you and appropriately responding to your mentor. An important part of active listening is also trying to understand from your mentor's perspective and being able to showcase that they have your undivided attention.

7. Ask Questions

If you want to communicate effectively with your mentor then you need to ensure your asking questions and seeking clarity. You can seek clarification by asking your mentor questions and briefly summarise what your mentor has said to you, this way you know that you have truly understood what has been said. Not only does this help improve any misunderstandings that may arise but also demonstrates your engagement and interest in the conversations you have during your mentoring sessions.

Final Thoughts

Mentoring is a valuable experience, for everyone involved. It comes with some impressive benefits and is a relationship built on confidence, respect and communication. Effective communication is key in all areas of life but is essential to ensure the success of mentoring relationships. As a mentee, you need to be able to speak clearly, set your expectations and build rapport if you want to reach your personal and professional development goals.

Remember, effective communication is a two-way street, so if you feel your mentor isn’t communicating as effectively as they can, let them know. You can even share a few of the tips suggested in this article. If you're open, honest and proactive in your communication, your mentoring experience will be truly enriching.

If you don’t have a mentor and want to find one, want to mentor others, or even do both, you can sign up at PushFar for free today.

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