April 13, 2023

Key Behaviours that form Relational Bonds: Knowing, Encouraging and Helping Others

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Most of us become mentors because we enjoy people. We want to understand what they are experiencing. We like to see others grow and thrive in their personal and professional lives. 

But how do we become even better at forging strong relationships with our mentees/supervisees? How do we avoid common pitfalls when working so closely with so many people? Having a clear and pure motivation in your work, and creating solid margins are two ways to keep yourself and your relationships healthy.


Our motivations are what keep us coming back to work day after day. Why do we choose to mentor? What drives us forward?

This should be the prime motivation of a mentor: to help others become the best versions of themselves.

Of course, there are other things that motivate us, for instance, financial rewards and feelings of self-worth in a job well-done. These are good and right, but beware of the trap that these can become if we focus more on them than our prime objective:

Money – becoming too focused on the financial aspects of the work

Self-worth – relying on the work to bring self-worth

Position- fixating on achieving a high position in/through the work 

Distraction- using work as a distraction from solving own personal issues

Power – enjoying the power of being a mentor 

These motivators must never take the place of the prime motivator—to help others move forward in well-being to be the best versions of themselves. 


Mentoring requires some serious social stamina. Even the best people can be exhausted at times, especially after a full day of handling others feelings and needs. Any relational tension in your own life adds to your weariness as well. Creating healthy margins that leave room for you to recharge is essential to good mentoring. 

The first step in creating social margins in life is to understand your social stamina. Some people can spend an entire day in a crowded space chatting with people and come home feeling energized by it. Others might become tired after a simple outing with close friends. We are also drained by different situations; one person might find it difficult and exhausting to talk to strangers, but can spend hours talking through intense emotions with a friend. Most people find tension and conflict incredibly draining.  

It’s important to reflect on your patterns; when do you find yourself especially tired? Are you energised by interacting with others? How much time do you need to recharge yourself? Are you happier and more invested in others after a few hours by yourself? 

So where are you on the scale of knowing, encouraging and helping others?

My main motivation is to help and encourage others: 

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

I struggle with being worn out by the people around me: 

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

I understand my margins and give myself time to recharge:

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

Reflection Questions:

  • What have been my main motivations in mentoring recently? 
  • Are my margins wide enough to allow me to recharge? 
  • Who in my life needs a little extra help or encouragement this week?
  • Who can I chat with about these behaviors? What do they see as my motivation? 

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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