In business mentoring relationships, we assert particular behavior when communicating. We revert to the style which works best for us. Becoming aware of our preferred style, especially when compared to our Mentoring Partner’s preferred style, provides crucial information about how each will be inclined to approach the mentoring relationship, present information, seek out and give feedback, and even draw conclusions about such things as charting the course, measuring progress, and evaluating success.
There is no one best style. As a matter of fact, each style is appropriate and desirable at different stages of the developmental relationship.
One communication style is the Co-Directed Style. This style says:
“I have the most expertise in this area and you may have some as well but you still need my guidance to further develop your competency in this area.”
The Co-Directed Style is more of a dialogue, with the mentor still dominating the exchange of information but allowing for questions and input from the mentee. The mentor uses more persuasion and reasoning than direction but is still the dominant presence in the relationship.
If the relationship is dominated too long by this style, conflict could occur as the mentee attempts to assume a more active role in the relationship.
The Co-Directed Style is best used when the mentee has some experience or knowledge of the issue or when the mentee is at a point to take some developmental risks and can best benefit from guidance.