On Friday, we posted a blog about mindful listening for mentors. We received some great feedback from you, and so decided to share tips for mindful listening for mentorees. Listening in a mentoring relationship is one of the key components to make that relationship a success.
Here are some tips for listening in a mentoring relationship for the mentoree:
Listen to your present: Take a deep breath and while exhaling become aware of what is uppermost in your mind (your last phone call, that deadline you have to meet, etc.) and decide to put this aside until after the session is over so as not to be distracted in your work with your mentor today.
Listen to your expectations: Imagine your partner and become aware of your own expectations of him/her in today’s session. Be mindful that your mentor’s role is to partner in your journey and not to provide you with answers. Be open to whatever happens in today’s session regardless of your expectations.
Listen to your authenticity: Remember who you are. As a mentoree, you are the one responsible for your own development. Be honest in your interactions with your mentor as trust develops so that you can take the risks this opportunity provides you.
Listen with intention: Make a conscious decision that you will bring your full awareness to today’s session. The act of doing this will make a difference in how you interact and what you bring to the session.
Listen with openness: Let go of being certain about the specific goal(s) you are working on, the approach you should be taking or the path you should be following and be open to exploring alternatives in conversations with your mentor. Think creatively and be ready to explore as a means to true self-discovery.
Listen to the silence: Silence can be the pause that can bring forth an important insight. Don’t fear silence but rather, take a moment to listen deeply within yourself and see what arises during that silence. This can often be the spark that leads to real understanding and change.
Listen with gratitude: Your mentor feels responsible for assisting you in your journey. Whatever he or she shares with you, whether you find it useful or less so, be thankful for the effort made and the commitment shown. Listen for the lesson you can learn from what is being shared.
Listen to reflect: The impact of your session with your mentor goes beyond that particular meeting. Listen to the impact it has the next day, the next week, etc. Reflect on your experience and you’ll find that you will have gained more than at first may be obvious. Mentoring has a ripple effect—be mindful of that effect on you.
Listen for change: Mentoring results in change. Listen to those moments in mentoring which call you to change. This means being open to hearing things that may be difficult. Change requires courage. Be willing to believe in yourself to make those changes that will truly make you the person you want to become.
Listen to the future: Mentoring is about creating the future by being in the here and now. No matter what obstacles you may feel you face in your professional and personal development, there is still a future to be had. Avoid being stuck in the past and letting those things that hinder you continue to do so. Be open to being in control of your own destiny by having a vision of the future and working toward it.