Exploring career mentoring and coaching
Exploring career mentoring and coaching

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2 Building rapport and trust

Described image
Figure 2 Building trust

Rapport and trust are important elements of a mentoring or coaching relationship.

Activity 2 demonstrates how a coach or mentor might build rapport with their client.

Activity 2 Good rapport vs bad rapport

Timing: Allow about 15 minutes

Watch this video, taken from the OpenLearn course, Three principles of a coaching approach [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] . It demonstrates ineffective rapport building between a coach and their client.

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Use the space below to note what you observe about the coach’s behaviour, use of language and energy. How do they differ from those of the client?

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Now watch a second video and make the same observations.

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Comment

In the second video, the behaviour, language and energy of the coach and client were much more aligned. It is an important part of the mentor or coach’s role to observe, listen and respond appropriately.

Try it yourself! When talking to a colleague or friend, try to pick on those nuances of mood, tone and energy, and notice how much easier it is to really listen to them and build a comfortable relationship.

In Activity 2, you observed the impact of mirroring and matching. Civico (2015) describes the four elements of mirroring and matching that make this such a powerful technique:

  1. Body postures and gestures – What posture is the person you are having a conversation with assuming? What is he or she doing with his or her arms and hands? Is the person leaning forward or backward? Observe, and then match the posture and gestures.
  2. The rhythm of the breath – Pay attention to how the other person is breathing, and then match the rhythm.
  3. The energy level – What is the energy level of the person you are talking to? Is he or she shy and reserved or exuberant and extroverted? If they are timid, it might be perceived as aggressive and invasive if you are exuberant.
  4. The tone of your voice – Notice the other person’s tone of voice. Is he or she talking softly, almost whispering? In that case, to build rapport, you need to mirror his or her tone of voice. Being loud will not establish a bond.

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