Communications Skill Guide

Create the best mentor/mentee relationship possible. Here are some practical suggestions to help enhance your communication skills.

Mentor Communications Skills Guide

Encourage Feedback

  • Tell mentees that you want feedback. Encourage them to give you both good and bad news. Welcome disagreement on issues. Then, thank them for providing the information.
  • Identify areas in which you want feedback. Do communicate your desire for feedback on areas that can help your own communication style.
  • Consider scheduling feedback sessions. It is easier to prevent mistakes or problems.
  • Use statements to encourage feedback. Statements such as “Tell me more about that,” or questions that can't be answered with yes or no will better foster a real conversation.

Provide Constructive Feedback

  • Relax. Remember your highest intentions are to bring out the best in your mentees. Making an effort to relax will make a positive difference in the tone of your meeting. Be respectful.
  • Share your intentions. Remind your mentee that your feedback is NOT to tell them what they are doing wrong.  Instead, you are trying to bring out the best in them.
  • Clarify your expectations. Unvoiced expectations create problems when it’s time to provide feedback. Be clear.
  • Ask questions. When providing feedback, do not always assume that your Mentee understands or agrees with everything you have said.
  • See the positive as well as the negative. Remind your mentee of what their strengths are.

Listen Up!

  • Prepare to listen. Effective listening requires preparation. Put aside papers, books, and other materials that may distract you. Make sure your mentee has your full attention.
  • Pay attention. Give your Mentee your undivided attention.
  • Show that you are listening. Especially if you are meeting over the phone, encourage your mentee to continue with small verbal comments like “Sounds good,” “Go on,” or even “Uh huh.”
  • Reflect on what has been said. Sometimes personal biases and beliefs can distort what we hear. As a listener, your role is to understand what is being said.  

Promote Consensus

  • Clarify the discussion. Make sure that the activity is understandable, orderly and focused on one issue at a time.
  • Remain open to different views. Good Mentors often learn from their mentees. Also, mentors can serve as models for the behavior of others by not being over-opinionated.
  • Remember there is no “I” in team. Try to promote yourselves as a team. Talk about what we hope to accomplish and how we can work together to achieve our objectives.

Reduce Misunderstanding

  • Think before you speak. If you rehearse your thoughts, and it doesn’t sound right, don’t say it.
  • Speak up. Voice something when you do not understand something.
  • Be clear. Keep your message as simple as possible.
  • Don’t assume. Unless you say something, you usually cannot be entirely sure the other person knows what you're thinking or feeling.

Mentee Communications Skills Guide

Encourage Feedback

  • Tell your mentor that you want feedback. Encourage them to give you both good and bad news. Then, thank them for providing such information.
  • Identify areas in which you want feedback. Do communicate your desire for feedback on issues and areas that you feel are your weak points.
  • Use statements to encourage feedback. Statements such as “Tell me more about that,” or questions that cannot be answered yes or no will help you receive clarification.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask

  • Ask when lost. When you’re lost, ask more insightful questions.  Don’t just look for answers.
  • Ask to identify issues. Questions can be used to solve problems. For example, you might ask about problems your Mentor experienced and how he/she resolved those issues.
  • Ask for information. Questions can also be used for clarification. For example, you can ask your Mentor what he/she meant about XYZ.
  • Inquire, don’t interrogate. Thoughtful questions are a powerful tool for learning! As with any other communication tool, be aware of your own intention for asking the question (e.g. learning more versus attacking someone else's idea), as well as the tone of your voice and word choice.

Listen Up!

  • Prepare to listen. Effective listening requires preparation. Put aside papers, books and other materials that may distract you. Make sure your mentor has your full attention.
  • Pay attention. Give your Mentor your undivided attention.
  • Show that you are listening. Especially if you are meeting over the phone, encourage your Mentor to continue with small verbal comments like “Sounds good,” “Go on,” or even “Uh huh.”
  • Reflect on what has been said. Sometimes personal biases and beliefs can distort what we hear. As a listener, your role is to understand what is being said.

Promote Consensus

  • Remain open to different views. While you may not always agree with your Mentor, try seeing things from their perspective. If you still disagree with something, let him/her know.
  • Remember there is no “I” in team. Talk about what we hope to accomplish and how we can work together to achieve ourobjectives. Do not emphasize what want done.

Reduce Misunderstanding

  • Think before you speak. If you rehearse your thoughts, and it doesn’t sound right, don’t say it.
  • Speak up. Voice something when you do not understand something.
  • Be clear. Keep your message as simple as possible.
  • Don’t assume. Unless you say something, you usually cannot be entirely sure the other person knows what you're thinking or feeling.
| Share

"The support I’ve received at the various levels of my career has been key in helping me get to the place I am today."

Lee S., AMTA member since 1995

We are AMTA

AMTA has long been the leading choice among massage therapists looking to establish themselves within the profession. We provide our members with the strongest benefits and promote massage therapy to the public and health care community.

Learn more

Contact us
500 Davis Street, Suite 900 Evanston, IL 60201 1-877-905-0577 8am–5:30pm CST M–F
Contact us
Stay connected

Read mtj »

Massage