There is a famous saying that goes, "One who listens need not say much." Listening is an essential quality of a good mentor. A mentor must understand, interpret, evaluate, and then react to what a mentee is saying. It necessitates mentors who are excellent listeners.
Mentors and mentees can benefit from the power of listening to share knowledge and learn more about each other. By being approachable and appreciated by many, a mentor who listens with patience will be more effective in their work.
Let's discuss this in-depth.
Why is listening essential?
- When mentors patiently listen to their mentees, they'll better understand the emotions weaved into the conversation. It, in turn, helps mentors prepare suitable mentoring programs. Responses like "I believe you seek more motivation," "You sound very discouraged," or "We need to create a balance in work and life" make mentees feel better connected to their mentors.
- In an organization with frequent mentoring programs, being a good listener is advantageous for a mentor. The larger an organization's workforce, the more difficult it is to engage with everyone evenly. Mentors can develop program activities focused on solving the group's concerns through listening.
Tips to be a good listener
There are a few tips that can help mentors become better listeners:
1- Create a no-diversion atmosphere
Mentors must listen to mentees the same way they would like to be listened to. Mentors can promote this by creating an atmosphere with no diversion, undivided attention, and honest conversation. The more a mentor is open to hearing, the more a mentee will be comfortable in sharing.
2- Specific conduct in program sessions
If mentors present themselves as listeners, mentees are encouraged to talk during the program sessions. For example, if a mentor is asked questions in a written format, they should read the questions carefully, seek clarity for unclear parts, and prepare an answer. By paying attention to specific inquiries, mentors are in a better position to understand the problem. If lots of questions are asked in a session, a mentor should take some time to answer each one of them and not hurry. If some questions require more time, mentors can address these after the session. Remember, a question can be irrelevant but not unimportant.
3- Ask questions using the right words
Even mentors need answers to understand their mentees. When constructing questions, mentors should stay focused, clear, and stick to the subject. They should use the right words directed towards gaining helpful answers. Mentoring relationships are sensitive and evolving, so it's essential to maintain clear communication to avoid incorrect judgments and assumptions.
4- Maintain an unbiased approach
A good mentor listens to one side of a situation and all sides. They take a 360-degree view and understand their mentee by putting themselves in their mentee's shoes.
5- Body language is the key
Half a mentor's job is done if their gestures indicate undivided attention to their mentees. Physical actions like leaning in, nodding, making eye contact, and folding hands are significant signals to mentees that their mentor wants to listen, guide, and support the mentee throughout the mentoring process.
A true mentor will listen to their mentees, make them feel important, and help them achieve their goals.
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