The most successful mentoring relationships occur between protégés and mentors who have established a rapport in a relationship build on mutual trust and affinity. Building rapport with your mentor is accomplished by understanding your mentor’s professional characteristics, establishing confidentiality within the relationship, and creating trust.
One strategy you can use to build a rapport with your mentor is to figure out her professional characteristics. Mentors and protégés who share similar characteristics will probably work well together. For example, you should choose a mentor with a personality you consider appealing. Or you might choose someone who has taken the same career path you plan to take, so you can learn from her experience.
You need to discover what kind of guidance your mentor can offer you. You can learn by being taught or modeling the skills of your mentor. The best mentoring strategy will depend on your mentor’s skills and on your learning preferences.
It is important to learn about your mentor’s counseling abilities. You should know how often you will be able to bring up your professional problems. Also, find out if your mentor feels comfortable discussing your personal life so you know the limits of your relationship.
Learn your mentor’s approach to different situations. She may be the kind of person who loves to debate issues. She may be the type who tries to solve problems immediately. Whatever the case, you need to know her approach, so you can learn to communicate with her.
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