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OF A MENTORING RELATIONSHIP

#3 Testing the Relationship

Now that rapport and trust are built, it is typical for the mentee to start testing boundaries in the relationship. Deep down, she may still want to see just how much staying power this relationship really has. Your mentee may make inappropriate requests of you. She may even show resentment or hostility toward you. You may start resenting what seems like negative behavior, and you might also feel caught in the middle between your mentee, her family, or other service providers.

Strategies for this stage:

  • Don’t take testing personally.
    • Reinforce limits, if necessary.
    • Continue to treat your mentee as capable.
    • Reaffirm your intention to remain in the relationship.

OF A MENTORING RELATIONSHIP

#4 Increasing independence

Once you have come through the trust building and relationship testing, you may find your mentee becoming less dependent on you and finding other sources of support. On the upside, you might see an increased self-worth in your mentee. However, setbacks are still possible during this stage as your mentee may take bigger risks in his life and in the relationship. As a result of all of this, you may feel discouraged or less needed during this stage.

Strategies for this stage:

  • Point out the shifts in behavior that you are observing and reinforce your mentee’s efforts to seek support from others.
    • Continue to support your mentee while encouraging independence.
    • Expect some setbacks as a natural part of this stage.

Reprinted with permission from Search Institute®. From Mentoring for Meaningful Results: Asset-Building Tips, Tools, and Activities for Youth and Adults. Copyright © 2008 Search Institute, Minneapolis, MN; 800-888-7828; http://www.search-institute.org. All rights reserved.