Building and Supporting Effective Mentoring Relationships

Whether you find yourself in the role of a mentor or a mentee, knowing how to build and support effective mentoring relationships is a lifelong skill that you will use over and over again. The Wake Forest campus and your fellow Demon Deacons offer opportunities and experiences for engaging in meaningful, intentional relationships. Here are four quick tips for cultivating effective relationships:

  • Set/Define Expectations. Both mentors and mentees come with expectations around what they want to get out of their relationship. Take the time to discuss the “ground rules” of your mentoring relationship – how often you will meet, what you will talk about, how you will communicate, and what will be kept confidential. Use the Defining Personal & Relationship Expectations Worksheet and the Mentoring Agreement Form to get you started.
  • Build Trust. Trust in a relationship does not happen automatically, but is built over time. Begin by following through with what you say you are going to do (show up, communicate, take action). Ask questions of each other and allow time to share your personal stories and experiences to get to know each other better. Effective relationships are ones in which two people have built strong rapport and trust. Utilize the Good Questions to Ask Your Mentee and Good Questions to Ask Your Mentor worksheets to get the conversation started.
  • Set Goals. By setting goals and creating an action plan to achieve them, mentors and mentees can better support each other in their progress towards personal learning and development. This Mentoring Goals Worksheet can help you write goals and create an action plan for achieving them.
  • Commit and Be Accountable. Show up and engage in your mentoring relationship. This includes asking for and giving feedback related to how the relationship is going, experiences and lessons learned along the way, and progress towards your goals. Check out our worksheets for mentors on Identifying Opportunities to Give Feedback and for mentees on Asking for and Reflecting on Feedback.

You might also want to check out these useful resources:
Mentor Toolkit 
Student Guide to Developing Effective Mentoring Relationships
Mentor’s Guide to Mentoring for Life After College
Faculty Guide to Mentoring Student Projects
Guide to Mentoring Around Cross-Cultural Experiences