3.1 The Importance of Healthy, Loving Relationships in Growing as a Person
Connection is Key
In order to be able to support and accompany young people on their paths, intensive work is required. From establishing contact to a trusting relationship, a lot of engagement and professionalism is required on the part of the mentor. Especially, in relation to the target group of NEETs, this process plays an important role and can be described as a key factor for successful coaching. Keep in mind that the term NEETs describes a diverse group with different needs. For some it can be a temporary status, for others it can be a display of disadvantage. When reaching this target group, it can help to separate those two types of NEETs for the further mentoring process. A strict separation is not possible, but it can help to understand the current situation and the related goals.
With the terms of the mentor or coach, a positive and motivating aspect for the cooperation can already be mentioned. It is a person who provides support and help. The dissociation from the school system, counselling institutions or parents can bring a motivating aspect for the young people to cooperate.
Particularly, attention and empathy are necessary to pick up the mentee where he or she is located right now in their life. Active listening is necessary to be able to recognise and work out the life situation and possible further goals. Close observation and recognition of the other person’s behaviour, language and attitude can make an important contribution to identifying goals and realistic next steps. In addition, this sensitive approach is necessary when working with a sensitive and hard-to-reach target group in order to prevent a possible breakdown of the relationship (see Höher, 2014). Section 4 provides suggestions on how communication can be implemented into the coaching process.
Building a relationship is linked to recognition and appreciation of the mentee. The focus can be on personality strengthening. Motivation can be linked to the mentee’s strengths. Through this positive and appreciative approach, a basis of trust can be developed. Noting the mentor’s observations and assessments can show the mentor’s interest and reveal the profundity of the process.
However, suggestions for solutions or ideas that the mentor identifies during the coaching process can be noted, but not directly proposed. Addressing these immediately, can lead to the mentee withdrawing or being overwhelmed, since the objective is imposed from the outside. The time factor plays an essential role in this process. The time factor should not be in the foreground in the coaching process.
Reflective questions for the reader:
- Which topics is the mentee willing to talk about? Which topics does she/he avoid?
- What are the interests of the mentee?
- Have I listened actively to the mentee instead of presenting proposed solutions?