West Yorkshire Mentor Guide

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


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