This month, the Mentoring Minute is focusing on ways that you can build a strong mentoring relationship with your student. Last week, we encouraged you to avoid being overly formal in your relationship with your student. Mentoring relationships are generally more effective when students see their mentor more as a trusted, caring friend and less like another parent or teacher in their life.

This week’s tip: be friendly.

As a mentor, it’s hard to reach the status of a trusted, caring friend if you’re not friendly. So, what does being friendly look like in a mentoring relationship? It means things like laughing and having fun with your student. It means cheering your student on. It means being impartial, and not automatically taking the parental view when they share things with you. It means showing your student genuine respect as you listen to them.

Remember too that building trust with your student takes time. Even when you do all that you can to be friendly and caring, it may take longer than you think it should for trust to be built in your relationship. The truth is your trust as a mentor is earned, and not automatically assumed or given.

Check back next Monday for another tip on how to build a strong mentoring relationship with your student.

-Jason Matthews, BTO Mentor Coach