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 Consulting Style. This style says:
“Let’s work on this together and come to joint solutions as two heads are better than one and we both have enough expertise in this area.”
The Consulting Style is most effective when the mentee has achieved knowledge/expertise in the area of focus. As the mentee becomes more independent, the partnership becomes more of a dialogue between peers, reflected by a strong sense of collaboration and consensus building. The prime mover in the discussion switches back and forth between the mentor and the mentee. Once the teacher and guiding force in the relationship, the mentor’s primary role now is to encourage and support the mentee.
Do you recognize this particular style of communication within your mentoring relationship? Has it worked well for you? Or, can you think of particular types of mentoring reationships when this style would work best? Please feel free to leave your comments below.