When entering a professional mentoring relationship, many people ask questions about just how personal they should become with their mentor/mentoree. There are many that believe that the more genuine the relationships, the greater success will follow, like is discussed in this recent article from Entrepreneur.com. But not everyone is comfortable with mixing business with pleasure. So what should you do?
Start off on the right foot
The general advice we give: It really depends on the two participants. In the circumstance when a pair was matched together by their company's corporate mentoring program, it is best to start the relationship professionally and keep personal conversations to a minimum.
I want to be your friend, do you want to be mine too?
Over time, however, it is natural for any pair that is meeting regularly to start talking personal (family, personal interests, what you did this weekend, etc.).
So to nip any uncomfortableness in the bud, it is best to discuss early on how each of you feel about getting personal. It really is important to discuss this because one participant may be more comfortable with getting comfy and cozy than the other, and if clear guidelines are not established, it could harm the mentoring relationship.
By the way, don't take it personal if you are the one who wants to get personal and your partner does not. Better to know than to have an uncomfortable conversation down the road. AWKWARD!
Beware of Blurred Lines
In order to get the most out of your time together and to accomplish goals that have been set by your company's Mentoring Program Manager, be sure to stick to an agenda for each mentoring meeting. Once all of the items on the agenda have been discussed, then you can spend the rest of your time chatting about personal stuff.
What do you think? Have you ever had any personal vs. professional relationship "talks" at work? What worked for you?