April 6, 2023

Key Behaviours that Form Relational Bonds: Empathy, Care and Compassion

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Relational Bonds

The profession of mentoring/supervision is built on relational bonds. See previous blog why relational bonds matter.

The ability to create strong and healthy bonds of trust and support with your mentees/supervisees is a necessary competency. In the upcoming weeks we will look closer at the behavioral expressions of relational bonds, beginning with empathy, care and compassion. 

Care is the provision of what is necessary for the health, welfare, maintenance and protection of others: their well-being. 

Compassion is the ability to show concern for the misfortunes of others.

Empathy is being aware of and able to share the feelings of others. 

These attributes are necessary to engage well with and establish trust within a safe environment. However, they can be a struggle. Certain people test our patience at times, or our own hardships/issues can interfere. When problems arise in our personal or professional life, it becomes more difficult to be compassionate. Yet, when our emotional bouyancy is high, and we are content and at ease in life, we have more room to be compassionate towards others. 

If you find yourself losing patience or growing irritable more quickly, it probably means that your buoyancy is low and you are experiencing compassion fatigue. You need some time to focus your compassion on yourself.

My relational bond is strong: (reflect on your various relationships)

Very true of me   True   Somewhat True    Occasionally untrue    Untrue    Very untrue of me 

I am aware of my mentees’ feelings throughout our sessions: 

Very true of me   True   Somewhat True    Occasionally untrue    Untrue    Very untrue of me 

I demonstrate concern for my mentees in their adversity :

Very true of me   True   Somewhat True    Occasionally untrue    Untrue    Very untrue of me 

I provide what is necessary for my mentees’ well-being:

Very true of me   True   Somewhat True    Occasionally untrue    Untrue    Very untrue of me 

How can you grow in these attributes? 

If you are struggling with empathy, care and compassion, the first thing to do is to check your own emotional health. The largest inhibitors of these attributes may be personal insecurities like fear of being vulnerable, or feeling unsafe or uncertain in your role as a coach. Or the inhibitors may be emotional distractions such as low buoyancy levels causing you to withdraw because you have no room to care for others. Reflect on what may be interfering with your ability to feel compassion. 

Seeking help from others is always the next step. The scale we used earlier can be a good way to engage trusted friends; ask them the same questions about you. They can provide honest answers and different perspectives. As always, seeking your own mentor’s help can be incredibly valuable. 

Ephesians 4:32 (NIV)

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Reflection Questions:

  • How did I show empathy this week? 
  • Where did I lack empathy this week? 
  • Where can I intentionally show empathy in the next few days? 
  • Who can help me reflect on these behaviours? 

What happens next? 

If you are looking to grow your mentoring skills, check out these resources:

Wondering what is your competency level as a Mentor? Mentor Q assess your mentoring competencies Take this assessment today.

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