What Mentoring Communication Style is best?
One of the things we do in our training of mentors and mentorees is to identify one's preferred style of mentoring or being mentored. Here's a question for you: if you were mentoring someone on a subject that your mentoree was completely unfamiliar with, which style would you be likely to use: Directed, co-directed, consulting or self-directed? The answer: Directed. Out of the 4 styles mentioned, the directed style is best used when assisting a mentoree in an area they are unfamiliar with. A directed style can be characterized as one that tends to be one-way (mentor to mentoree), is about providing very specific information on "how to do something". It's about providing direction, providing the map.
But if you were the mentoree, what style should you be open to receiving? The same: Directed. Mentorees need to be equally flexible in receiving the mentoring style that is most appropriate in a given situation.
Often when I do this consulting gets chosen. But that's a misunderstanding of what consulting is. I can only truly consult with someone if they have enough information to engage in a dialogue about that issue.
So, partners in a successful mentoring relationship are able to adjust their styles based upon the demands of the situation being discussed.