Building Trust Between Mentors and Mentees

Almost six-in-ten Americans think improving trust in one another is an important objective. For those coming from challenging circumstances, trust truly is something that must be earned.

In a mentor-mentee relationship, building trust is a key part of the process. Wondering how to do that well if you’re serving as a mentor? Below you will find some guidance to help!

Be Clear on Expectations 

When you begin a mentorship journey, it’s important to set goals and clear parameters for the relationship. Consider addressing this topic during your initial conversation with a mentee. 

You might discover that your mentee wants someone they can discuss their struggles with. Or perhaps they need help navigating through high school and major life decisions. Take the time to establish objectives so you can help ensure that the relationship is meaningful.

Determine how often you’ll meet so you can create a rhythm. Setting regular meetings also can be a useful strategy from an accountability standpoint. If you’re new to mentoring, OhanaHC’s training program helps mentors develop the skills and framework for success. 

Spend time determining what success looks like, too. Building trust requires building shared standards that are fair and reasonable. Give your mentee an opportunity to voice their perspective throughout the process.

Offer Transparency to Start Building Trust

To create a healthy connection with a mentee, make transparency a priority. While you don’t need to divulge personal secrets, you should be open and honest. 

Don’t be aggressive in trying to pull information from your mentee. You don’t want them to feel put on the spot since this may cause them to retreat. Instead, take small steps to create openness.

Think about what motivates the relationship in the first place. Working with a mentee may be as much about helping them as it is about growing personally. When you take ownership of why you’re in the relationship, you’ll project more enthusiasm and authenticity. 

Better yet, your mentee will recognize your sense of personal investment during your interactions. It’s easier to be vulnerable when there is a shared sense of trust!

Empower Your Mentee to Make Decisions

It’s often tempting to take over conversations that may feel sluggish or tense. But you’re better off letting your mentee take the lead with conversations, as well as decision-making.

If you’re hoping to complete an activity together during a Saturday afternoon meetup, for instance, let your mentee decide where you go. It may be helpful to provide a few options, but let them make the final call. They’ll learn how to be more decisive and appreciate the trust you’ve shown them. 

Decisions also apply to the direction a conversation takes. When in doubt, defer to your mentee. Be open to letting a conversation veer from the path you envisioned. OhanaHC provides assistance to new mentors hoping to make a difference. Fill out the contact form on our website or email us at to learn how you can start building trust as a mentor!

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