Mentoring, like every great relationship, has to be built on a great foundation. Such a foundation is built when you share expectations, define boundaries, and clarify the purpose of your time together. These conversations can be awkward, but believe me, the hard work will build trust and a healthier relationship in the end.
During your first time together, you should talk through what you both are wanting the relationship to look like. Will you meet once a week or once a month? Will you talk through life questions that arise or go through a book together? How long do you want to meet? Will the relationship last for a month, three months, a year? Whatever expectations and boundaries you talk through, the key is to be honest, transparent, and patient with each other.
This conversation has to be a priority. Clear expectations, boundaries, and a defined purpose will make your time together effective and fulfilling. There will always be things that you weren’t prepared for, but with good communication and clear expectations, you will be able to navigate your way through.
One of the things I love most about my mentor is that she was upfront with what she could or could not give me, and then she was willing to cater to me with whatever I needed in that season.
We both got to build together what we wanted our mentor-mentee relationship to look like. What I needed then was just someone to talk to, and advice and encouragement in my upcoming and newlywed marriage. It was so freeing to have someone who could let me be me, and who respected herself enough to be whatever she needed to be as well.