User Guides

How to Give and Receive Feedback

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The objective of feedback is to help your mentee learn and improve, and not to criticize them. Done well, feedback can:

  1. Enhance communication and trust.
  2. Clarify expectations, and help partners be more open and honest about what each expects of the other.
  3. Increase engagement and commitment, so both mentoring partners feel they have a stake in the journey.

Giving productive feedback

Feedback needs to be consistent and constructive. Here are some tips on how to give productive feedback. 

  • Permission: Ask permission before giving feedback.
  • Intention: Question your intentions. Why are you giving this feedback? Will it help your mentoring partner learn?
  • Be specific: Provide tangible examples of behavior you have observed. Discuss its impact.
  • Frequency: Give feedback frequently when it is still actionable.
  • Positive: Also focus on positive feedback. What’s going well? 
  • Two-way discussion: Allow your mentoring partner to respond and think about what they are saying. Discuss ways to move forward and potential solutions. 

Receiving feedback

How you receive feedback is also important. Be sure to listen and think carefully about feedback. Here are some suggestions:

  • Listen: Listen attentively to what is being said. Don’t begin to plan how you will respond, and tuning out what is being said.
  • Be open to feedback: Try to have an open mind, and be willing to change your behavior if necessary. 
  • Reflect: Reflect back to your mentoring partner what you have heard to ensure you understand it clearly. Ask any questions. 
  • Two-way discussion: Together, discuss potential solutions so you can move things forward. 
  • Appreciate: Thank or recognize your mentoring partner for what they have shared with you.

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What is Expected of Mentors?

Mentoring partners have expectations for each other.
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Mentoring partners have expectations for each other. The better those expectations are understood, the more likely the mentoring journey will be successful. 

  1. Honors confidentiality - Confidentiality is the cornerstone of a mentoring relationship. Nothing can be shared outside of the meeting unless permission is obtained to do so. You can write private messages by going into a current Mentorship and clicking on the Messages tab – other mentors and mentees can’t see these interactions.
  1. Roles - Mentors are there to guide their mentees and provide support. Mentors should try to withhold judgement and keep an open mind. They offer feedback and advice if the mentee requests it.
    A mentor encourages and supports their mentee, believing in them and what they can achieve. They may also be willing to open up their network to their mentee. Since mentors usually have experience in the same field as their mentee, they can provide useful real life experiences and observations. 
  1. Commits to the process - Both mentors and mentees are expected to come to meetings prepared, on time, and committed to the process. Unless it’s an emergency, don’t change or cancel meetings. 
  1. Honest - Mentors are expected to be open, honest and authentic. They commit the time required to build a relationship with their mentee. They give mentees honest feedback and are open to receiving constructive feedback from them.