Active listening is one of the most important Tools used in the mentoring process. It indicates a conscious intention to hear more than just the words, to perceive the message that the mentor is trying to pass to the mentee (and vice versa). Instead of understanding the conversation as an opportunity to express our own opinion, we should use active listening techniques, which are a valuable listening skill that involves an effort, adjustment, focus and empathy towards the interlocutor. They are based on the desire and intention to see the world from the perspective of the mentor/mentee.
Basic rules of active listening:
- Decide that you will actively listen to what your interlocutor has to say;
- Focus all your attention on what your mentor/mentee is telling you, both verbally and nonverbally, by body language;
- Show understanding and interest, both verbally and nonverbally;
- Ask open questions;
- Check your understanding and, if necessary, ask for more explanation/clarification;
- Pay attention not to interrupt your interlocutor too often;
- Use “I” messages – non-generalized messages that refer to personal examples and your point of view;
- Offer a new perspective of a particular situation and an insight into the various solutions.