Tuesday, August 17, 2010

BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS(4)-MENTORING RELATIONSHIP(2)



“I would not be here today without conscientious mentors. My
mentor has not only given me tools and taught me skills, but she has
become a lifelong partner and friend to work in social justice.”
—Doua Thor, Mentee

One of the key ‘skills’ I am learning is; ‘building relationships’. Life is all about relationships; all other things are just details. Your life rises and falls on relationship. We’ve been coming a long way in this series and I believe they are getting to us. Not too long ago, my newest mentor (though we are still concluding on the ‘terms and conditions’) and one of the best brains I have come across said to me, ‘a mentor is not someone who advices you but one whose counsels you heed too’. As little as this statement sounds or seems, I didn’t recover from it for days-it kept ringing. Mentoring is a very important part of life. You need a head to go and stay ahead. In this note, I will be drawing our attention to some of the laws and principles that should surround a mentoring relationship. We will start with the latter. How do I know or choose my mentor is the question I would want to tackle by stating some principles;

  1. Principle of Desire: somehow, you feel to follow (to be mentored by) this individual whose desire, pursuit and passion seems to fall in line with yours. This is a principle to follow because in mentoring, you don’t go after anyone whom you think is just successful rather, that person should have a bearing similar to yours on which platform there can be a relationship. Purpose must be known else abuse is inevitable and like I said in the previous note, it doesn’t have to be one-on-one. My favourite mentor and I have not sat on a dinner table yet. Follow someone whose desire and pursuit is similar to yours. Another dimension to the principle is for you to just ‘desire’ an individual whom you think has traits you admire. You get?
  2. Principle of Inspiration/Perception: in this type, you just have a feeling or knowing deep within you to be mentored by this personality maybe because of carriage, knowledge and/or what have you but somehow you perceive you are inspired to be mentored by such a fellow. It’s just a knowing within you. Please go on. It’s a worthy principle I must state. Many times, you don’t pre-empt this. My earlier mentors were ‘gotten’ by this principle.
  3. Principle of Wisdom:  this occurs when you are just interested in this person (mentor) by the depth of his/her wisdom. You know wisdom is the principal thing and as one of my lecturers did say, it (wisdom) is neither the teacher nor the student but the principal. This is indeed a great tool in selecting a mentor. Oh, I love men who are full of wisdom, they mentor a great deal.

Now to the laws that guide mentoring. In my studies, I have come across a lot of them but for obvious reasons I will just be discussing one. However, what I’ll want you do is to ponder for some few minutes on each of them and apply them to your mentoring relationships. These laws include; law of mutual protection, law of Independence, law of openness, law of focus, law of risk, law of flexibility, law of communication, law of transaction, law of trust, law of limited responsibility etc. I will be taking on on the law of communication.

In every relationship (marital, mate, mentee and mentoring) and I mean every of them, the ‘life-blood’ is communication. In fact, one thing I believe is as powerful as love in any relationship is communication. Somebody was even asked some of the ingredients he thinks will make a relationship fruitful. His answer was; 1. Communication. 2. Communication. 3. Communication. So you see! Communication is key; dearie-it can make or mar your mentoring relationship. It is defined as the process of exchange of pieces of information, attitudes, reactions, ideas, messages, feelings, reactions etc . It is a ‘crossfire’. This ain’t a communication class and so let’s move on quickly...lol
Somebody else has said that the lack of effective communication is the greatest barrier to healthy relationships with co-workers, friends, family, and others. You and your mentor must both effectively listen and give meaningful feedback.
There are two types of listening: passive and active.

Passive Listening
When a listener does not verbally respond to the speaker. They may send non-verbal messages through eye contact, smiles, yawns or nods. It is appropriate when: the person wants to air a gripe, vent frustration, or express an opinion you want to ease back mentally or be entertained, for instance, the other person relates a joke or story.

Active Listening
Active listening involves verbal feedback. Perhaps it is through questioning of additional information or by paraphrasing (e.g., “Let me make sure I’m with you so far,” or “What I hear you saying is…”). Then you rephrase the other’s ideas in your own words. With this type of feedback, you demonstrate that you have understood the other’s concerns, observation, advice, etc.

Regardless of your role in the relationship, either as the mentee or the mentor, listening skills are critical.

Here are some tips to help you improve your listening skills:

Hold your fire. Learn not to get too excited or angry about the individual’s point until you are sure you understand it. Do not immediately draw any conclusions either good or bad. Reduce your emotional reactions.

Listen for the main points. When listening, focus on the main ideas. Make a mental outline of the mentor’s most important points. My mentor usually asks me to bring a list of what we will be discussing or send via mail before we get to see.

Resist distractions. While listening, try to ignore your surroundings and concentrate on the speaker’s facial expression and his/her emphasis on certain words.

Capitalize on thought speed. On average, a person speaks 125 words a minute. However, people process what they hear at almost four times that speed. Don’t let your mind stray while you are waiting for the person’s next point. Instead, try to “listen between the lines.” Concentrate on the non-verbal messages. In this form of relationship (mentoring) you are more on the receiving side, hence you must do all you can to grab what s/he will have to say. I have not been able to have an audience with my newest coach for over 2 months now and so when next we see, your guess is as good as mind.

Listen for the whole meaning. Listen for feeling as well as fact. In other words, try to get inside your mentor’s head. Ask as many questions ooo. It’s the best way to get them answered. You do not impress your mentor in anyway. Listen and grab all you can.
Effective listening is a skill that comes from practice and a desir
I should be writing on the ‘mate relationship’ in the next piece. So sure we are learning.
Be all YOU CAN!


I dedicate this to a worthy mentor and model, Tony Elumelu (a great lion) who just retired as the MD/CEO, UBA Plc. Your years in the system have been worth it, sir. All the accolades are deserved.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Powerful series!

LE DYNAMIQUE PROFESSEUR said...

I love this bro. I love the communication part. I indeed need to work on my communication and listening skills. While I think I am trying when it comes to listening, I believe I can do more; especially when it comes to holding my fire. May God bless you.

- LDP

BIGSHOT said...

Sorry for the dark (hard to be seen section). I have copied it below:
Here are some tips to help you improve your listening skills:


Hold your fire. Learn not to get too excited or angry about the individual’s point until you are sure you understand it. Do not immediately draw any conclusions either good or bad. Reduce your emotional reactions.


Listen for the main points. When listening, focus on the main ideas. Make a mental outline of the mentor’s most important points. My mentor usually asks me to bring a list of what we will be discussing or send via mail before we get to see.


Resist distractions. While listening, try to ignore your surroundings and concentrate on the speaker’s facial expression and his/her emphasis on certain words.


Capitalize on thought speed. On average, a person speaks 125 words a minute. However, people process what they hear at almost four times that speed. Don’t let your mind stray while you are waiting for the person’s next point. Instead, try to “listen between the lines.” Concentrate on the non-verbal messages. In this form of relationship (mentoring) you are more on the receiving side, hence you must do all you can to grab what s/he will have to say. I have not been able to have an audience with my newest coach for over 2 months now and so when next we see, your guess is as good as mind.


Listen for the whole meaning. Listen for feeling as well as fact. In other words, try to get inside your mentor’s head. Ask as many questions ooo. It’s the best way to get them answered. You do not impress your mentor in anyway. Listen and grab all you can.



Believe we learnt...