If you want to have a productive mentoring partnership, you must engage in good conversation throughout your relationship.

Conversations are the primary vehicle for building trust, establishing agreements, identifying learning goals, facilitating learning, giving and receiving feedback, checking in on progress and improving your mentoring  process. So, as you can see, there’s a lot at stake! Here are some proven strategies that will enhance your mentoring conversations:

  1. Make sure your mentoring  conversations focus on exploring and sharing, not just telling and reporting.

  2. Wear your facilitator hat. Ask questions that will encourage your mentee to think and come up with new insights for themselves.

  3. Look for opportunities to take conversations deeper. Don’t settle for talk that skims the surface or produces a quick tactic to address a deeper issue.

  4. Resist the temptation to solve your mentee’s problem for them. Ask probing questions that will encourage them to discover their own solutions.

  5. Be a listener and a learner. Explore and validate your mentee’s perspective. Use “and,” not “but,” to keep your conversations positive and moving forward.

What tips do you have to maintain healthy mentor/mentee conversations?