I was sent this article by our Executive Director, Tina. It is incredibly inspiring and extremely supportive of mentoring.
Please read this and, if you are already a mentor, know that you impact the world and your Junior Partner in huge, positive ways.
Follow the link here.
I especially appreciate the emphasis placed within this article which speaks to the mentor’s skills. The most important skill mention is being able to listen to their junior partner. This is key for developing rapport with a kid and ultimately, rapport, is what we use to leverage behavioral change and transformation.
Rapport is a tool and since it is a very specialized tool, it needs to be honed and cured. To fully listen to a kid, use these three steps:
- Use eye contact
- Have you ever wondered which eye to look into, or perhaps you simply look at both or the person’s nose instead? Eye contact is extremely important for communicating and it sends a distinct message of “I hear you” when you use great eye contact to listen. Here is a suggestion. Look into one eye only–you can choose to look into the left eye of people and make this consistent for you. When you do this you will have a new focus and through that “window” (someone’s eye) you will make connections and build rapport quickly.
- Silent the Mind
- Have you been “listening” to someone while also putting together your response? Or perhaps you have been “listening” to someone’s story and your thoughts wander into creating your grocery list or thinking about the homework you must complete tonight–is this you? Listening requires a silent mind. When this is utilized your focus becomes more clear and you actually hear more of what the person is communicating. The person talking also feels the space you have created and is able to speak more freely knowing they are being heard. Here is a suggestion to silent your mind while listening. Practice focusing on your breathing while you listen. Let go of the need to create a response and you will actually make the perfect reply if you keep a silent mind.
- Mirror body position
- Mirroring someone’s body position can let them know you hear them on multiple levels. Only 10% or so, of our communication is transmitted with our voice and words. The rest is in our energy states, which include tone of voice and fluctuations, and our non-verbal communications–facial expressions and body language. By observing a speaker’s body language and adopting some of this in your own body, you will understand what they are communicating more and they will feel you listening to them. Again, this is about building rapport and if you can feel what they feel through your body positioning rapport will increase and be built quickly.
Mentoring is a special opportunity to change many lives. The kids lives change and many kids who are mentored end up not being a statistic for the records. Just as this article presents, mentored youth stay out of trouble and away from drugs and alcohol more so than kids you are not mentored. This does not mention the different beliefs they adopt and attitudes towards giving to community that they also express through their long successful lives.
Learn how to be a mentor. Contact us today.