5 Ways to Foster Connection in Mentoring Relationships


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Leave a comment on this guest post by Lisa Fain to become eligible for one of 20 complimentary copies of her book, Bridging Differences for Better Mentoring.

(Deadline for eligibility is 2/29/2020. International winners will receive electronic versions.)

We know that people perform better, find more professional satisfaction, and are more engaged at work when they create meaningful relationships with the people with whom they work.

Yet workplace conversations often feel transactional and perfunctory.

Mentorship is a powerful vehicle for connectedness, but only when the relationship is built on trust and connection.

5 tips for building better connection:
(in mentoring and managerial relationships)

#1. Own it.

Too many of us wait for the other person to extend themselves. If you want to create connections in your work relationships, take ownership of that responsibility.

Decide that you will take the initiative to build more trusting work relationships.

#2. Open up.

In any relationship, workplace or otherwise, people will mirror the behavior of the other person. To create real connection, you have to become a bit vulnerable and model the free exchange of information that you wish to see in the relationship.

#3. Ask good questions.

“Small talk” serves a purpose, but it won’t build relationships.

Go deeper with your questions—ask about a recent win, an issue they are struggling with, etc.

#4. Create continuity.

Did your mentor say she was going on vacation? Did your supervisor mention that he had a big presentation? Did you discuss a particular strategy with your mentee in your last meeting?

Continuity is essential for deepening relationships. Follow up on threads from prior conversations.

#5. Keep at it.

Meaningful relationships take time to build, and the willingness to form them varies by individual and culture. Be genuine and consistent, and you will see your relationships transform.

Now that you’ve been armed with the tools for greater connection and better workplace relationships, ask yourself which of these tips you will incorporate.

Lisa Fain is the CEO of the Center for Mentoring Excellence, the author of Bridging Differences for Better Mentoring, and an expert in the intersection of cultural competency and mentoring. Her passion for diversity and inclusion work fuels her strong conviction that leveraging differences creates a better workplace and drives better business results.