… a nice continuation from my previous post.

Mentor and mentee conversations are the high moments of learning for both sides. These are the moments when mentor is figuring out what feedback the mentee mostly needs and how to convey it effectively. Meanwhile, the mentee is doing a lot of mental work – expressing her ideas, understanding the impact of a mentor’s question, and even trying new perspectives suggested by her mentor. Actually the mentee is learning to think, on-the-fly!

For all such actions to happen satisfactorily, mentor and mentee must develop a good conversation practice. Although, this is yet another topic on which we receive little structured training, there is very exciting material around. Take for instance an article from Rick Reis about strategies for productive conversations between mentor and mentee [1], from which I selected a few tidbits to entice your interest:

A. What are good questions to foster this type of conversation (e.g., open-ended, challenging, that tap into mentee’s experience and skills, etc.)?

B. How to listen effectively while having a conversation (e.g., acknowledging each others feelings, paying attention on what is being said, instead of focusing on preparing your next intervention, etc.)?

C. Which and how to use the various media for conversation (e.g., phone, email, live chat, etc.)?

This last item motivates my next post – “Another cautionary note about email”.

[1] Rick Reis, “1409. Strategies for Good Conversation”  – http://cgi.stanford.edu/~dept-ctl/cgi-bin/tomprof/enewsletter.php?msgno=1409