Career Mentoring - Establishing Rapport

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Building rapport with your mentee

Taking time to build rapport with your mentee will help you to get the most from the mentoring relationship. Rapport comes from shared values or experiences, and sometimes from a ‘chemistry’ that is hard to define.

Your verbal and non- verbal communication is key to

Key principles in building trust

  • Get to know your mentee. Talk about their studies at CYF and their life outside it. Try to understand what they think and why. Value their viewpoint.

  • Do what you say you are going to do. Agree on what you are both aiming to achieve through your mentoring sessions. Be reliable and always do what you say you are going to do.

  • Communicate openly and honestly. Discuss issues as soon as they arise. Ask for and give feedback.

  • Don’t be afraid to challenge. Your open, honest relationship will allow you to challenge your mentee constructively to explore a wider viewpoint.


It’s really important that you consider aspects of confidentiality when working with your mentee. Building trust requires a certain expectation of privacy and confidentiality.

When you start working with your mentee. Discuss with them what parts of your conversations you both want to keep just between you and what is ok to share with others.

For example, you can share best practice with other mentors without disclosing your mentee’s name or other identifying information. But you might need specific support around an issue from your City Coordinator or Head of PD. In those instances, you will need to share identifying information.

Four things to think about are:

  1. Concerns. If you’ve got any, chat to the the PD team or other Mentors in the #cyf- career- mentors Slack channel

  2. Secrets. Don’t promise to keep any secrets. Make that clear from the beginning and remember to ask your mentee if they mind you sharing confidential information with anyone else.

  3. Information. Keep information about your mentee (like their phone number) somewhere secure.

  4. You. Confidentiality works both ways. Be aware of those personal areas of your life you’re happy to share with your mentee and those you are not.

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