Let Trust THRIVE In The Mentoring Relationship

by | Feb 7, 2018

Trust is the foundation on which the super structure of all relationships personal or professional is based! In a mentoring relationship trust is the most essential ingredient to make the association work as the mentee more than the mentor would discuss areas of development and many times areas of concern and it is the Mentor who has to show the light to his/ her protégée without breaching trust. THRIVE the Global Mentoring program(for women) launched in Zurich and Mumbai by Shivangi Walke started with chemistry matching exercise between the mentor and mentee where they were paired based on the mentee’s pre chosen areas of development and the Mentors’ areas of expertise. The needs covered were a blend of both functional and behavioral skills i.e. career development, role transition, selling skills, enhancing business acumen, organizational savvy etc.As organizers Shivangi Walke,Bharti Dekate, Anjali Gulati and I had to put in a lot of thought in deciding the mentor-mentee pairs so that the relationships have a greater degree of success! Now how do you form trust in a new mentoring relationship? It is exactly formed the way trust would develop in any personal or professional relation and there are certain steps associated with it .There is an element of both spontaneity and structure in this process. My practical cum intuitive description of these trust building steps based on my extensive mentoring experience is as follows :

What is it that you and I need to know about each other

  1. Aspects like Education, vocation, passion i.e. hobbies, interests, strengths and areas of development
  2. The mentor can discuss her blind spots and professional strengths
  3. The mentor and mentee can have an open discussion about the fact that they may come across each other’s vulnerabilities and weaknesses during these conversations and these conversations certainly cannot be discussed in public

Why are we into it i.e. the mentoring relationship

Both Mentee and Mentor arrive at a (this is relevant more for the Mentee) rather deep understanding of the rationale

The Why defined better

What is the objective the Mentee wants to work on.Are there any rough and ready outcomes that we are looking at i.e. career development , developing a particular skill. How will success look like?

Let me illustrate the Trust formation process with an example:

I had to mentor sometime back a key millennial talent for a prestigious company Global program that helps them kick start a global career. The program has very stiff competition with lot of written tests and interviews and our mentee had little time given the nature of his role where he was working across 3 time zones.

How was trust formed in this Mentoring relationship?

I have described here the key steps along with the important behaviors and traits that enabled the trust formation process

  1. The mentee and I defined the mentoring objective immediately with a time-frame around it (commitment to action and drive to excel)
  2. We introduced each other and shared our strengths and areas of development. As a mentor and so called senior leader I was more open with my weaknesses and blind spots as it helped the mentee to be comfortable with me.(openness and authenticity)
  3. I was thoroughly involved in the mentee’s progress and was highly committed to him achieving the coveted position. The mentee too was deeply focused and sincere and was willing to go that extra mile to achieve his desired objective. As I reflect today we were like 2 inspired revolutionaries quite determined to achieve the objective and bring the desired change !!(chemistry matching)
  4. I shared with him the challenges involved in long distance mentoring and said that we will have to leverage technology to the fullest for the same(commitment to action)
  5. We were open and flexible with respect to calendar and availability (respect)
  6. I always shared the pre read before each mentoring session so that we could come to the point in a short span of time (commitment to action)
  7. We had follow up actions to do with timelines and if the mentee was not able to complete it he told me before hand (commitment to action & professional integrity)
  8. I always checked with the mentee through a series of questions if he had done the work assigned to him (drive to excel)
  9. The selection process involved interviews sometime at short notice so I was available for quick chat with the mentee at short notice as his matter needed my urgent attention(commitment to action and drive to excel)
  10. We went beyond the formal brief of the mentoring and even discussed our hobbies, interests etc. Lo and behold there were a lot of commonalties. This formed an informal bond and also helped build a mutually respectful and trustworthy relationship (values, faith)
  11. There were challenges on the way in terms of timing, availability but as mentioned earlier we were open and flexible with respect to our calendars and respectful of each other’s requirements . There was no barrier of hierarchy , age , gender etc. and in the end it almost seemed like 2 good friends talking to each other on important and interesting matters!!

Our single minded pursuit of excellence coupled with other essential ingredients like mentoring contract, authenticity, commitment to action, integrity and mutual respect ensured that we build the architecture for a strong mentoring relationship!! Keen to know the status of our mentoring relation today? Now that our mentee has achieved his goal our relationship still continues to well ensure that he succeeds in his new role!!

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