by Fran Goodrich
You are welcome. We say those words all the time. It's pretty automatic – the courteous response when someone thanks us. But in mentoring, those words need to be at the forefront of our mind and our hearts! They are the crucial starting point of meaningful conversation. We may not speak them audibly, but everything about us needs to communicate a warm welcome to those whom we are mentoring.
How can you become one of those welcoming people who provide the kind of full welcome that we all desire? A valuable resource I use, 9 Arts of Spiritual Conversations, challenges us to consider these three things: your face, your space, and your place.
Welcoming starts with your face. A smile and warm look directly in someone’s eyes goes a long way. Our God is a God who sees us. When you are meeting with your mentee, I encourage you to be intentional about truly "seeing" her – welcome her with your smile and your eyes.
Your space includes the nonverbal impression of openness you give, offering a safe and caring presence, free of judgment. Providing a welcome space also means being OK with pauses or even awkward silence in conversation. Too often, we feel the need to talk or say "something" to avoid long pauses. But, being welcoming means helping create the gift of space in conversation to think, reflect, and ponder.
Having a comfortable place to meet is a very practical, but important, way to be welcoming. In mentoring, we're inviting women to be vulnerable, to be honest, to be real. So the place we meet needs to be inviting and safe. I encourage you to be deliberate in finding places to meet that are conducive to relaxed, comfortable conversation.
Mentoring is gift – something you give and you receive and it starts with "you are welcome."
Based onThe 9 Arts of Spiritual Conversations. Learn more at www.the9Arts.com.
Fran Goodrich has been on the staff of Q Place since 1997, where she mobilizes and mentors Christians to facilitate group discussions with spiritual seekers so they can find God as revealed in the Bible.
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