This guide has been created to support Mentors involved in the West Yorkshire CIPD Branch Mentoring Programme. It aims to be a simple yet effective set of resources to support those taking on the role of Mentor in the Mentoring relationship. The guide contains guidelines, supporting documents and developmental resources that will help develop a sound relationship/ partnership between Mentor and Mentee. It also offers support and guidance to facilitate a Mentor's professional development. Our thanks go to all the volunteers who have have given their time and effort to develop these resources.
Mentoring Programm e
West Yorkshire Branch
Guide for Mentors
Guidance, support and development to help you and your mentee on their professional journey
Message from the Branch Chair
There are around 4,000 members in West Yorkshire, all at different stages in their careers. Some members are working towards a qualification at the very start of their career and some are re- entering formal education to validate their experience or to boost their confidence following a career break. Others have built a long and successful career in all types and sizes of business, or as independent consultant. Wherever you are on your journey, having the opportunity to mentor someone is so rewarding. iYour experience is unique and an invaluable source of support to those seeking to develop and improve. I can honestly say that mentoring others has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my career. It has also played an important part in my own continuing development. This guide has been developed by the Branch team to help you get the most from your mentoring experience and to effectively support your mentees on their own personal journey.
Jonathan Broadhurst FCIPD Branch Chair
This guide has been created to support Mentors involved in the West Yorkshire CIPD Branch Mentoring Programme. It aims to be a simple yet effective set of resources to support those taking on the role of Mentor in the Mentoring relationship. The guide contains guidelines, supporting documents and developmental resources that will help develop a sound relationship/partnership between Mentor and Mentee. It also offers support and guidance to facilitate the Mentors professional development. Our thanks go to all the volunteers who have have given their time and effort to develop these resources.
What is Mentoring?
Mentoring is a form of learning and development and an increasingly popular tool for supporting personal development. Mentoring is a distinct activity, separate to coaching, which has become a widespread development tool. We all know of famous mentoring relationships. Ian Botham for example was mentored by Brian Close, Kevin Keegan by the great Bill Shankly. There are many business mentoring relationships, notably Chris Gent and Arun Sarin at Vodafone and there are many more examples from politics and other fields. This often leads to the popular belief that mentoring can only be carried out by the best in the field. This is not the case. To paraphrase David Clutterbuck, who has written extensively on mentoring, anyone can be a mentor if they have something to pass on and the skills, time and commitment to do it.
T here is some confusion coaching. The videos below share some perspectives. Do you agree or have a different view? Broadly speaking, CIPD defines coaching as ‘developing a person’s about what exactly mentoring is and how it differs from
skills and knowledge so that their job performance improves, hopefully leading to the achievement of organisational objectives. It targets high performance and improvement at work, although it may also have an impact on an individual’s private life. It usually lasts for a short period and focuses on specific skills and goals.’
Traditionally, mentoring is the long term passing on of support, guidance and advice. In the workplace it has tended to describe a relationship in which a more experienced colleague uses their greater knowledge and understanding of the work or workplace to support the development of a more junior or inexperienced member of staff.
Today, mentoring is a relationship that offers opportunities for mentors and mentees to learn from each other. It is more of an exchange than a one-way giving of advice.
The characteristics of mentoring are: • A supportive form of development.
• Focuses on helping an individual manage their career and improve skills. • Personal issues can be discussed more productively unlike in coaching where the emphasis is on performance at work. • Activities have both organisational and individual goals. • Ongoing relationship can last for a long time. • Informal and meetings take place when the mentored individual needs some guidance and/or support • More long term and takes a broader view of the person. • Agenda is set by the mentee with the mentor offering support and guidance
The benefits of Mentoring Mentoring will have a clear and positive effect on a Mentee’s personal and professional development. Similarly, It also benefits the Mentor and the organisations they work for. The relationship between a Mentor and their Mentees can become a rewarding and long lasting experience. This is what author Simon Sinek has to say.
Becoming a Mentor builds lasting relationships with others and helps them by: • Giving them an insight into your work and career • Assisting them with practical tips on planning a successful job search strategy • Offering advice and guidance with their career thinking Developing understanding, skills and problem-solving support • Encouraging reflection and recognise and celebrate effective practice Identifying areas for development and improve self confidence It also benefits you by enabling insights into you own professionalism by allowing you to: • Develop and practise skills e.g. communication, questioning, self- reflection, creative thinking • Demonstrate your commitment to equality and diversity • Gain a real understanding of diversity issues facing the people profession • Share the knowledge and experience gained • Lead or participate in an innovative project • Improve job satisfaction, motivation and enhance peer recognition.
Mentoring Scheme Principles
The following principles underpin the project and the Mentoring scheme: • There must be shared understanding of and agreement with the purposes of the Mentoring scheme • The process has to be understood by all those taking part • The Mentoring project is a constructive, developmental form of support – of mutual benefit to those taking part • There will be adequate training, preparation and support for those taking part in the Mentoring scheme • A clear understanding of and agreement on the level of confidentiality will be required within the Mentoring relationship • Any written record produced should be appropriate to the needs of the Mentor and Mentee, and should be accessible to both parties • The Mentoring scheme will reflect and promote a commitment to equal opportunities • Open communication and consultation will occur throughout the implementation and management of the scheme • The continuing development of the Mentoring scheme will require regular reviews of its operation • Participants will create a time frame both for the frequency of meetings and for the duration of the relationship.
The Mentor’s role
The relationship between Mentor and Mentee is very much Mentee- centred and focused on their professional and personal development. It may include the giving of advice, information, establishing facts, sign-posting, self-appraisal, etc. Whatever the techniques, the emphasis is on enabling and empowering the Mentee to take charge of their development and their environment. To allow this transition the importance of interpersonal skills is essential. These skills include listening effectively, empathy, understanding a non-judgemental approach and the ability to facilitate through skilled questioning. The Role of the Mentor is to: • Help establish the ground rules for the relationship • Question, to elicit facts and gain insights into emotional states
• Share information about organisation/occupation and informal networks • Offer advice on career development • Offer different perspectives • Provide support and encouragement • Confront and discuss current issues • Take the lead and make decisions in the early stages of the relationship And to encourage the Mentee to: • Listen • Clarify understanding • Share thinking • Review and reflect on oneself • Challenge own assumptions • Consider different perspectives • Develop a career plan • Take responsibility for own development • Maximise the outcomes of the Mentoring relationship
Becoming a Mentor The Mentoring relationship
The Mentoring relationship can be a very powerful positive experience. It enables and develops a greater sense of confidence, enhancing the professional and personal skills of both parties. To make sure the experience/ relationship is a success, a number of factors need to be addressed. Factors for success There are a number of factors which will contribute towards a successful relationship between Mentor and Mentee: • Clear guidelines for the roles and responsibilities of both parties • Agreed and shared understanding of the nature and type of support • Commitment towards the principles and values of the Mentoring scheme
• The skills of both the Mentor and Mentee • Clear communication in both directions
Communication is the cornerstone upon which all the other factors are built. It is through constructive and empathic dialogue the relationship can develop allowing both parties to bring forward their ideas, enter discussions and maintain professional development. It is within this environment both parties can flourish. The video below outlines some of the key stages in developing a rewarding Mentor experience.
Selecting and using strategies for supporting the Mentee There are different ways a Mentee can be supported, encouraged and given constructive feedback. With each strategy, it is important to be aware of its purpose, appropriateness, the likely impact and its value to the Mentee. Strategies can include: • Giving advice – offering the Mentee your opinion on the best course of action • Giving information – giving information on a specific situation (e.g. contact for resource) • Taking action in support – doing something on the Mentee’s behalf • Observing and giving feedback – work shadowing and observation by either or both parties. Observation coupled with constructive feedback is a powerful learning too • Reviewing – reflection on experience can develop understanding allowing one to consider future needs, explore options and strategies David Clutterbuck’s four helping styles is a useful way of thinking about how to best support a Mentee. These styles will probably change as a relationship develops. It also helps when considering professional boundaries. Counselling in particular is one in particular to pay attention to. Mentoring is an empowering experience for the Mentee and whichever strategy is selected, it is chosen to encourage the
Mentee towards autonomy. The Mentee is expected to negotiate the forms of support needed at the initial contracting stage; by making use of
processes that are self-helping such as learning logs, self review journals, reviewing meetings and feedback. The relationship can be used to develop skills for both parties and is dependent on clear communication. This all- important communication can benefit from analysing a number of key skills, active listening and questioning.
Preparing for the Mentor Role Mentors may have concerns, and it is reassuring to know that these concerns are also experienced by the Mentees. Some concerns may include:
• Will we get on? • Will there be enough time for meetings? • What am I supposed to do?
• Will I be able to do this? • Confidentiality? • What if things go wrong?
We can see that these concerns can apply to both parties. The Mentor and Mentee can start to look at these issues prior to the initial contracting meeting. Reviewing past experiences and looking at the expectations of the Mentoring can do this. This will allow you to prepare, share understanding and formulate any questions, which can be raised and answered both at this stage and at stages prior to the initial meeting. The reflection will also invite you to consider issues that may be important for the future success of the Mentoring relationship. The following are only a suggestion of activities that Mentors and Mentees may agree to take part in • An initial contracting meeting • Work shadowing • Review discussions • Making use of a learning log • Building a portfolio or record of achievement Personal support • Reviewing the relationship Ending the relationship The initial contracting meeting The initial meeting is very important. It sets the stage for the relationship and provides a forum to establish the parameters essential for the success of the mentoring. It is the time to set, clarify and agree issues for discussion: • The purpose of the Mentoring and your expectations of what you hope to give and receive from the experience. • The framework for the supporting activities – What and how will these be delivered? What preparation prior to the meetings is needed? Each other’s responsibilities? • Frequency and agenda - How long will these meetings be? Review meetings – Important to review the aims, objectives and consider how the relationship is developing and changing.
By the end of discussions at the initial contracting meeting, both parties should
have reached a shared agreement that states clearly what each party expects to give and gain from the relationship. This agreement can be verbal or a simple written summary can be used. A written version may be clearer and more useful. Remember that this is a suggestion and both Mentee and Mentor may adopt another method as long as the basics are outlined. The Mentor and Mentee may want to consider the following when looking at an agreement: • How might the agreement help? • Would the agreement be unhelpful? • How would it be unhelpful? • How do you feel about setting up a Mentoring agreement?
Mentor – Mentee meetings The meetings are the central function, allowing discussion of experiences, giving and receiving feedback, exploration of issues and talking through options for future action and development. The Mentor acts as facilitator/ enabler through skilful questioning, a non-directive, non-judgemental approach and the use of different strategies. All this needs to happen within an agreed framework around a clear purpose or purposes. The main purposes of the meeting may include: • Reviewing experience • Giving feedback • Identifying strengths and achievements • Identifying weaknesses and areas for development Exploring options
• Teaching or coaching specific skills and techniques • Engaging in discussions on professional issues • Agreeing support needs • Setting targets for future action
The emphasis on the purpose will vary both during the meeting and across the meetings and during contacts. The meetings are not the sole point of contact as individuals may use the telephone and e-mail for shorter types of contact.
How can we ensure these meetings work? There are a number of important issues/factors to consider to make the meetings a success. These
are important for positive outcomes in the mentoring relationship. One of the most important factors is to remember your Mentee is not your direct report.
Issue 1. Structure, purpose, content and process. The meetings should have a clear structure and purpose with respect to content and time parameters. These need to be defined and agreed upon during the initial contracting meeting and recorded if required on the Mentoring agreement. Giving the meeting a clear structure and process will ensure the time is used effectively. Your role here is to control the meting not the conversation. The content of a meeting may not follow a linear progression. However it is important, given potential time constraints that you have a structure you can use to manage the meeting. This will help you moving through looking back at recent experience, discussing present experience and finally discussing future options. These three areas are linked and follow on from each other systematically. You may only discuss the last two looking at present experience and discussing future options or even work from looking at options and then the present experience. Looking back at recent experience – How have things been going? What has worked well? What hasn’t worked? Discussing present experience – What are your thoughts now, in the light of what’s been discussed and raised? What obstacles may be holding you back and how they can be overcome. Discussing future options – exploring and agreeing goals for future action, discussing ways to meet the needs identified. Developing potential, clarifying and agreeing the support needed.
The GROW Model Developed by sir John Whitmore, the GROW Model is a simple yet powerful framework for a powerful mentoring conversation. Sir John’s company has produced short explanatory video to explain its origins and concepts.
1. Goal Initially, identifying the goal is the priority. They might be short-term goals or more longer term aims. They may well be a combination, with shorter term objectives, establishing a clear pathway to a longer term goal. Goals should be stretching but achievable and motivational. 2. Reality The next stage is to identify the current situation. This could be via the Mentee’s self-assessment followed by some questioning from the Mentor to explore, clarify, challenge and offer feedback. Barriers, both real and imagined are discussed with the emphasis on looking for opportunities, rather than dwelling on perceived limitations. Understanding a Mentee’s mindset is important, as their development is linked to how they see themselves. 3. Options Once the real obstacles to achieving goals have been discussed, options to overcome issues preventing progress can be explored and evaluated. Think big, and be creative, this will lead to more solutions. It is still important to mindful of the Mentee’s circumstances and to invite suggestions, while encouraging them to think outside of their current reality. This will lead to some choices with some clear actions that can be taken forward. 4. Will With the choices and actions agreed, an action plan can be drawn up. It is important that the Mentee is able to take ownership of the action plan and the actions are within their control or influence. Action planning is a process and the results from one action, may lead to changes in subsequent plans. Flexibility and adaptability are key to remaining on track and marinating motivation
Issue 2. The Mentor’s skill as a reviewer In order for the review meeting to work effectively the Mentor’s ability to use their skills appropriately is essential. The core skills will probably involve: displaying respect, understanding, empathy, the ability to clarify, active listening, questioning, focusing, delivering feedback, summarising, negotiating, solving problems, target setting and action planning. Just by looking at the core skills, we can see that the position of the Mentor is very powerful. It is the Mentor’s ability in using these skills to empower the Mentee, that is the ‘magic’; moving the power base from themselves to the Mentee, allowing them to develop. The Mentor will draw on their expertise, experience, knowledge base, charisma and ability to assess the Mentee and situation. The Mentee-Mentor relationship also needs to be reviewed within the format as the needs and input of both parties change. The ever-changing relationship affects the dynamics and helps to assist both in keeping the meetings targeted but needs to be reviewed regularly.
Issue 3. Feeding back to the Mentee
Feeding back into the Mentoring process is
essential for any review and is the core component to the development of the Mentee. There are many factors, which can disrupt the feedback (receiving and giving) process, and for that reason it is a challenge for both Mentee and Mentor.
We can try to support and make the process easier by considering 4 key steps. Step 1. Trust and Respect – Before the feedback process even happens it is important that Mentee and Mentor develop their professional relationship. Part of this development will be to discuss issues around feeding back, what it involves and what both parties want from it. Step 2. Quality of the information given and received – Base comments on quantifiable and reliable information. Step 3. Two-way discussion – Make sure the discussion is a two-way
dialogue, where both parties are involved and buy into the process. There needs to be an exchange of ideas, views and opinions from both. Step 4. Constructive Outcomes – Feedback needs to search for ways forward, strategies and solutions to difficulties that arise moving the development and learning forward. These Steps can be helped along if we are:
feedback is useless unless it is based around specifics and clarity. Neither party will be able to move forward until they know what does or does not work well
• Evidence based refer to materials which support the feedback
• Parameter bound work within the agreed and negotiated agenda set prior to the review (initial ‘contracting’ meeting) • Realistic work within the agreed and negotiated agenda set prior to the review (initial ‘contracting’ meeting)
ask for views and comments on the focus of the feedback, allowing involvement and an ownership of the process. The Mentoring will work better if both parties feedback into the review
be true to the agreed delivery of feedback, using sensitivity along with honesty to address issues
Issue 4. Moving on The ‘Moving On’ stage will reach a natural finale, at which point it will be time for the relationship to end. Hopefully this end will be at a stage when the Mentee has become an independent learner able to facilitate his or her own development without the aid of the Mentor.
Bruce Tuckman is well known for his Four Stages of Group Development model. There is also a fifth stage, Adjourning that he added some years later. It sits well with this theme of moving on. This video offers a quick and fun overview of this final stage. For most parties there can be a degree of sadness at the ending of an effective relationship, even when both parties know that it has reached the end of its useful life. It is important for the relationship to finish on a positive note and celebrates success in the final review. A high quality review and feedback session will lead to clear outcomes. These outcomes are identified areas of strength, achievement show how things have worked and why. From these, well-defined ideas for progression can be formed.
Some background reading on key skills and a suggested reading list for continuing development.
The skill of Active Listening
Active listening is the ability to listen and internalise what is being said; essentially listening and understanding. You can use your whole self to convey the message of an active listener involved in the discussion, showing interest, gaining trust and respect. This can be achieved by using verbal and non-verbal communication. Non-verbal communication has more impact than words alone, so facial expression, eye contact, non-verbal prompts (e.g. head nodding) and body posture (leaning slightly towards the Mentee, showing interest) will contribute towards building upon the professional relationship and improving discussions. Your surroundings can also be utilised to create a climate appropriate for discussion to occur. The aim is for a quiet, pleasant and relaxed environment with no physical barriers (e.g. a desk between Mentor and Mentee) to be used to conduct the meeting in. Within active listening, we can concentrate on two important aspects used within Mentoring these being: 1. Being focused : Keeping the Mentee focused on a specific discussion topic, keeping the conversation confined around one area. This is difficult as Mentees in the early stages of Mentoring tend to have many questions and
move from one to the other without linking or having a structured approach. 2. Using verbal prompts : Using sounds or key words to encourage the Mentee to talk more, clarify a point or extend an idea, for example: • The use of expressions like ‘I see’ and Go on…’ and by using sounds like ‘Uh- huh’ and ‘Ye-e-s’. • Repetition of key words within a discussion e.g. If the Mentee says ‘I am really concerned…’ repeating ‘concerned?’ may prompt the Mentee to expand further and shows the Mentor is interested and concentrating on the Mentee. Likewise, this works vice versa. There are of course barriers to active listening which anyone involved in Mentoring needs to be aware of. Awareness of these barriers will allow the Mentor to encourage, support, show interest and respect to the Mentee. Barriers to listening include: • Tuning in and out – on average we think approximately four times faster than we speak, leading to listeners tuning out, using the space to address their own thoughts or concerns rather than staying tuned into the listener. • The glazed look – there are times when an individual will concentrate on the speaker (Mentee) rather than on what is being said for whatever reason, bringing on that glazed look on the face of those listening, a look we all recognise. • Mentee-centred – issues discussed are less important to the Mentee, our discussions should always work around the development of the Mentee and not the subject being discussed. • Becoming heated – certain phrases, words and views may cause Mentors to feel as if they should dive in with their own opinions; resulting in the Mentee becoming irritated, upset and switching-off. It is OK to give your own view but remember the professional discussion is for the Mentee and it is their ‘arena’ with the Mentor’s primary task being that of the facilitator/listener. • Giving space – during discussions the Mentee will have silences and spaces, which will vary in length. Try not to rush in and fill these, as we all have differing periods of reflection and thinking. It is important to allow the Mentee time to internalise their thoughts. One of the key skills of communication is the ability to listen and actually hear what someone is saying. How often do you think you have told someone something and that they have heard and they come back to you later and say they weren’t listening? Do you ever get the feeling that someone isn’t really listening to you;; they are just waiting for you to finish speaking so that they can have a go. This
is called ‘me too’ listening and is not effective in the communication process, as a lot of things can get missed. Listening effectively doesn’t come naturally to everyone, but it is a skill that can be developed with practice. Here are some things that will help the other person to know that you are listening properly.
• make appropriate eye contact • nod you head • make encouraging noises; “mm” • help by making responses, “I see” • smile • ask relevant questions • check your understanding
• curb your interruptions • avoid assumptions • show a genuine interest • put yourself in their shoes • keep an open mind • be patient
Also, we tend to listen at different levels. We start with plain ignoring where, in fact, we are not listening at all. The next level is superficial listening where we may be displaying some of the attributes of active listening, but actually not a lot is going in and if pushed we probably would not be able to repeat back what we had heard. The next level is listening for content. At this level we are actively taking on the facts that are being shared and could recall them if required. The last level is listening for meaning. At this level we are gathering data about people’s emotions, beliefs and values. For example, if when asked how long they have been in a job an individual says “too long!” this gives us an insight into how they feel as well as the fact that they have been there some time. Listening effectively is one of the biggest compliments that you can give to a person. Think about times when you have felt really listened to or not listened to at all. How did that make you feel? To be a great communicator, you first have to learn to listen well.
The Art of Questioning
Questioning, when used effectively, is a very useful and powerful tool. It allows the Mentee – Mentor relationship to develop, assisting the Mentor in understand the Mentee’s situation or dilemma, assisting the Mentee in exploring and understanding their experiences with the hope of formulating avenues and actions for the future. There are many reasons to ask questions, they may be:
• To satisfy curiosity • To obtain or clarify information • To assist in exploring an issue • To look at possible alternatives • To check understanding
• To challenge contradictions, views etc. • To move the discussion forward • To direct the discussion
With the effect questions have and their power, it is important to select those which are of greatest use. Questions can essentially be broken down into two types, closed or open questions. 1. Open Questions: These are questions which require more than just a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response and usually begin with ‘How?’ ‘Where?’ ‘What?’ ‘Who?’. Questions beginning with these can be used to: • Gain information – ‘What happened as a result of…?’ • Explore personal issues – ‘What is your view on…?’ ‘What are you expecting to achieve?’ ‘How are you feeling having…?’ • Consider and explore avenues – ‘What are the possible options for...?’ ‘What may help when...?’ ‘How would you deal with...?’
2. Direct Questions: These are questions that require a specific response. They are fit finding question that don’t have a yes or no answer but the repose
may be very short - how long have you worked in your current role? 3. Closed Questions: These are questions which evoke a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response and in doing so narrow down the opportunity for the Mentee to expand, closing down the discussion e.g. ‘Do you…?’;; ‘Did you…?’. Continual use of closed questions will restrict the discussion, resulting in the Mentee saying less and the Mentor asking more and more questions. The overall effect is poor communication and a difficult environment to work within. There are times when closed questions are useful. They can be used to summarise and confirm a discussion, bringing parties up to speed and to the same level e.g. ‘So, you are saying that you don’t have an issue with...?’. Avoid asking multiple questions. These are a number of different questions asked within the same sentence. They are unclear, cause confusion and stop both parties from focusing on the meeting. An important skill in communicating well is the ability to ask the right questions. Questions break down into two broad categories. Open questions allow you to gain more information, whereas closed questions will generally just get you a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. Closed questions can be useful when you need to check facts or confirm information and details. Open questions allow the responder to either give you lots of information or they cut quickly through to the fact that you need to know. They usually begin with the following words and are contained in Rudyard Kipling’s poem, The Elephant’s Child: I Keep six honest serving-men, (They taught me all I knew) Their names are What and Where and When, And How and Why and Who. Be careful when using ‘why’ as this can be perceived as quite challenging. For example, if you ask someone ‘why did you go there on holiday?’ they will feel that they have to justify their choice. If you ask, ‘how come you chose there?’ you are more likely to get an insight into their likes and dislikes. There are some other tools that you can use to help people speak more freely. Try using TED and PIE. T – tell me … E – explain … D – describe … P – precisely I – in detail E – exactly Also silence is very powerful at encouraging others to speak. It is particularly useful with people who are slower thinkers. However, keep an eye on the non- verbal communicators, as they will show when people are starting to get uncomfortable and it is time for you to speak again.
In order to achieve our goals, we often set them using the SMART criteria. Many of us are already familiar with these. S – specific – goals should be set in terms that are precise and clear. What exactly do you want? M – measurable – how will you know when progress has been made or you have reached your target? A – achievable – ensure that goals are within your reach, even if they are a little stretching. R – realistic – goals should be relevant to your work and life and should be realistic in terms of all your other commitments T – time bound – goals should have an end date and even milestones along the way.
Another useful approach to setting goals is the POWER technique. P – positive – set goals using positive terms and words. “I want to make progress with my qualification” rather than “I don’t want to keep procrastinating.” O – ownership – consider what part of the goal is within the individual’s control. There are some things we can do and some things we can only influence. “I want to stop people interrupting my work” may not be within their control, but “I can influence others to interrupt me less” is. W – where, what, who, etc – this covers the actions to gain the goal and may include some SMART criteria. E – ecology – this checks the individual’s buy in to the goal. Ask, “if you could have that tomorrow, would you take it?” If there is any hesitation before the “yes”, then check what the barriers are. R – reality – this is about making achievement seem as real as possible and is done by getting the individual to visualise success. The more the end goal appears, the more likely it is to happen.
In order to communicate effectively with others, it really helps if you have rapport with them. This means that you are ‘on the same wavelength’, that you just click with them. Sometimes, we have natural rapport with people; think of your friends or partner. Other times, we have to work on building it and there are a number of things that we can do.When we communicate, any message is made up of three parts: - • the words we use (verbal) • how we say it, our tone of voice (vocal) • what our body is doing, our body language (visual or non-verbal) Research has shown that the greatest part of a message is passed on by our body language, then our tone and then the actual words themselves. Imagine asking someone how their day was and they reply with a one word answer, “fine.” If they said this through clenched teeth whilst slamming their keys on the table, this would have a very different meaning from someone saying it whilst nodding and smiling. It is for this reason that a lot of rapport building is done around the non-verbal side of communication. If we watch others’ body language and listen to their tone of voice and aim to mirror this, we can start to build rapport. Watch people who are getting on well and see how they mirror or match each others body language. Having said that, you can also build rapport by looking for common ground with someone; • Do you support the same football team or enjoy the same hobby? • Have you been on holiday to the same place?
Finding common links with someone will help you to build a good relationship with them which will allow for more effective communication. The poem Judge Softly written by Mary Lathrap in 1895makes a good case for building rapport. It is said that the quote waking a mile in their moccasins is based on this poem. The first verse reads: Pray, don’t find fault with the man that limps, Or stumbles along the road. Unless you have worn the moccasins he wears, Or stumbled beneath the same load. In other words, to understand how someone is thinking and feeling, you have to step into their world. Rapport is all about making this connection with another person and them, bringing them into your own world to create a mutual understanding.
Reading List The following selection of book titles offer a wide but certainly not exhaustive range of models, examples, skills and techniques for improving your role as a mentor: Techniques for Coaching and Mentoring, David Clutterbuck and David Megginson (2004) Mentoring in the Lifelong Learning Sector (Professional Development in the Lifelong Learning Sector), Sue Wallace, Jonathan Gravells A Practical Guide to Mentoring: How to Help Others Achieve Their Goals, David Kay and Roger Hinds (2009) Coaching and Mentoring: Practical Methods to Improve Learning, Eric Parsloe, Monika Wray (Kogan Page: 2000) Real Coaching and Feedback: How to Help People Improve Their Performance, J.K. Smart (Prentice Hall: 2002) Coaching for Performance, Sir John Whitmore (Nicholas Brealey: 1992) Changing Belief Systems with NLP, Robert Dilts (Meta Publications: 1990) Introducing NLP Neuro-Linguistic Programming, John O'Connor, John Seymour (HarperCollins: 1993) Magic of NLP Demystified: A Pragmatic Guide to Communication and Change, Byron Lewis, Frank Pucelik (Metamorphous Press: 1985) Games People Play: The Psychology of Human Relationships, Eric Berne (Penguin Books: 1968) People Skills, Robert Bolton (Simon & Schuster Inc: 1986)
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