TRUST: The Cornerstone of a Mentoring Relationship

Stephen Covey talks about high and low trust in his article on leadership, and how the best leaders build trust. Here’s what he has to say……..

When trust is low, in a company or in a relationship, it places a hidden ‘tax’ on every transaction: every communication, every interaction, every strategy, every decision is taxed, bringing speed down and sending costs up. Significant distrust doubles the cost of doing business and triples the time it takes to get things done. By contrast, individuals and organisations that have earned and operate with high trust experience the opposite of a tax — a ‘dividend’ that is like a performance multiplier, enabling them to succeed in their communications, interactions, and decisions, and to move with incredible speed.

Think about your mentoring relationship/s – do you operate within a high trust or low trust environment? Are you being ‘taxed’ or receiving ‘dividends’?

A Five-Step Process

I came across this five-step process for developing and maintaining trust which holds true for the mentoring relationship as much as any other……

1. Engage – offer something of value in an open discussion

2. Listen to each other and hear what is important for each of you; offer suggestions and/or solutions based on what you have heard and checked with the other person

3. Frame a situation or issue with caring, constructive language

4. Envision an alternate reality and discuss options, including win-win descriptions of outcomes and results, including emotional states. Clarify benefits. Explore future opportunities

5. Commit to agreed actionable next steps that imply significant commitment on the part of each person

Here’s a suggestion: In your next mentoring meeting, work through the five-step trust process together with your mentor/mentee and evaluate your relationship based on these five core trust principles.