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Building Relationships: A Guide for New Mentors

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2001
48 pages
This guide describes 10 important features of mentor attitudes and styles that facilitate the building of positive relationships with mentees.
Steps to build a positive relationship with a mentee is to first, be a friend, which involves not acting like a parent; not trying to be an authority figure; not preaching about values; and focusing on establishing a bond, a feeling of attachment, a sense of equality, and the mutual enjoyment of shared time. Second, have realistic goals and expectations. This means focusing on the mentee and his/her overall development, centering goals on the relationship itself, and emphasizing friendship over performance. Third, have fun together, which communicates reliability and commitment. Fourth, give the mentee voice and choice in deciding on activities. This can include the development of a range of possible activities, the creation of an "idea file" together, listening, and emphasizing that what the mentee feels and wants is important. Fifth, be positive by offering frequent expressions of confidence in the mentee and providing concrete assistance that helps build mentee self-confidence. Other guidelines for building the relationship with a mentee are to let the mentee have much of the control over conversations; listen; respect the trust your mentee places in you; remember that the relationship is with the youth and not the youth's parents; and remember that you are responsible for building the relationship.

Date Published: April 1, 2001