This kind of relationship requires that the mentor surrender some of the power differences in order to build a relationship and trust. Learning cannot occur with anxiety in the room.
Authors Bell and Goldsmith, In Managers as Mentors, encourage the “SAGE” approach to forming the foundation for an effective mentorship:
S = Surrendering. Power, authority and command, or opinion of these traits in a mentor as seen by the person receiving the mentoring, can damage the exchange of ideas necessary for learning.
A = Accepting. Do your utmost for a safe relationship. The mentoree must trust the mentor to deliver an environment that encourages risk and experimentation.
G = Gifting. A mentor should give advice, feedback and/or focus. This is actually the most delicate stage. If the mentor has failed to pave the way for being yielding and patient, the mentoree may disregard, underestimate, resist or reject the gift being offered to them, the gift of knowledge.
E = Extending. A mentor must help the mentoree apply information to real-life experiences so self-directed learning may occur. Creative teaching tools include role-playing, feedback and storytelling.
There’s a great deal that goes into structuring and nurturing a successful mentoring relationship that truly works to motivate learning. It is vital to stay out of the expert guru throne.
Actually, it is a subtle balance between accurately knowing a lot, and trying to teach it to others while allowing failure and learning from it.
What is your experience with it?