[Adapted from Power Mentoring by Ensher and Murphy]
Ensher and Murphy, in their study of effective and less effective mentoring relationships, have identified four building blocks to an effective mentoring relationship. They are:
- Positive initial contact and connection
Mentor and mentee saw similarities in each other, and were able to bond over something similar in their backgrounds.
- Frequent interaction
The mentoring relationship became closer as the mentor and mentee did things together and spent time together.
- Growing closeness and connectedness
Mentor and mentee were able to candid in personal disclosure, and felt understood and supported.
- Defining moments.
A specific event that cemented the trust between mentor and mentee
Ensher and Murphy offer some tips to help forge an effective mentoring relationship:
- Develop an understanding of each other's work environment and issues
- Develop mutual admiration
- Treat each other as confidants and not competitors
- Be open to each other's ideas and influences
- Focus on solvable problems and issues
- Develop a relationship that is meaningful for both
- Consider the importance of gender, race, generational and other dimensions of diversity in the relationship
- Know when to bring others into the mentoring relationship
Each mentoring relationship will be unique. The key is to create a relationship that is mutually beneficial - both the mentor and mentee gain from one another.