Forming a Mentoring Relationship

mentorThere are four key elements that need to be covered in the formation of mentoring relationship.  These are outlined below.  They may occur over 2, 3 or even 4 sessions.  If there is an existing relationship getting started with mentoring may be engaged more quickly. 

1.  Building a high trust relationship

This always takes time, but I know no better way to begin this and to put the foundation in place that to have an opportunity for both mentor and mentoree to share their life stories with each other.  Take some time with this so it is best done when there are no major time constraints.  I tend not to prepare this before hand.  I just let it come out as it feel right to share.  Sharing a life story is sometimes a challenge for a mentoree, few have actually done before.  It is in a sense sacred ground.  As mentors we need to respect it as such. 

2. Getting an overview of the mentoree’s life, challenges, roles and commitments

The sharing of life stories gives us a head start here but there is usually much more to getting a big picture understanding of our mentoree.  What are their key roles in life, most important relationships, major issues and challenges.  At what stage of marriage, family life, leadership development and personal spiritual formation are they?  What are their gifts and capacities, personality preferences and leadership style. I often use some inventories and tools to assist me at this point. 

3.  Setting 3-4 clear objectives

Once we have connected and got a bit of understanding it is time to settle to clarifying 3 – 4 objectives for the year.  Is is good for these to be expressed in SMART terms.  I like to have one or two personal goals, one or two professional / leadership development goals and one goal related to something the mentoree has just always wanted to do for the fun of it! 

4.  Expressing the relationship in covenant terms

This written and signed document covers when and where we will meet, for how long and what to do if one or other needs to cancel.  We agree to availability in crisis times, confidentiality, any involvement with the church, the minister’s partner, and how we handle social contact outside of mentoring. 

I always ensure we document the objectives and commit to working actively on the them for 12 months.

We agree when the relationship will be reviewed.  I go for 12 months and a possible renewal. 

Both sign, pray and the mentoring begins……