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 be friendly. Students in general are not likely to automatically trust a new mentor. In fact, in many cases, they may perceive you to be just another authority figure in their life and start the relationship from a position of distrust. Being friendly is one way that you can change the perception that your student may have of you as you mentor them.

This week’s tip: build trust.

Once you have laid the groundwork for a mentoring relationship that’s less about being formal and more about being friendly, it’s essential that you build trust. So, what does building trust look like in a mentoring relationship? It means being an active listener. Active listening is not just hearing what you’re student is saying, it’s communicating back to them what you heard in a two-way conversation so that they know that you are really listening. It also means empathizing with them. Showing genuine care in the midst of their big challenges or even everyday struggles goes a long way in building relational equity with your student. Finally, you can build trust by being an advocate for them. If your student sees you as an ally, they are more likely to trust you and seek you out for help and advice when they need it.

Check back next month for more ways that you can learn and grow as a mentor!

-Jason Matthews, BTO Mentor Coach