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Building Relational Trust

Over the past several years, the Professionalism Teaching Policy and Standards Branch has had the privilege of facilitating Mentoring for All professional learning sessions with a wide variety of mentors in school boards across Ontario.

At each session participants shared how they are building (and rebuilding) trust. Below are their thoughts:

Building Inclusion
  • Learning about personal interests (e.g., sport, hobby, weekend)
  • Touring the school together
  • Creating a safe environment for sharing
  • Having an open door (literally and metaphorically)
  • Structuring goal setting conversation(s) to avoid misalignment of expectations
  • Using mediational questions to surface attributes
  • Modelling a genuine interest in learning together
  • Identifying a third point as a focus for collaboration (e.g., a specific student need)
  • Helping build connections with community and colleagues
  • Including the person in school (and social) activities
  • Demonstrating appreciation and belief in your colleague(s)
  • Providing an "oasis of calm"
  • Celebrating successes together
Modelling Mutual Respect
  • Respecting confidential nature of relationship
  • Remaining non-judgemental
  • Walking in the person's shoes
  • Avoiding the "you shoulds" via providing a menu of options for the person to consider
  • Following through on next steps
  • Being receptive to feedback yourself
  • Celebrating diversity of thoughts and perspectives
  • Focusing on each other's strengths
Sharing "Real World" Challenges
  • Sharing own challenges – levels the playing field and builds trust
  • Acknowledging the "messiness" of learning
  • Being vulnerable – opens the door to deeper sharing
  • Sharing challenges but also the "quiet victories" that occur each day
Listening, Listening, Listening
  • Being available to listen (both mentally and in real time)
  • Being authentically present
  • Recognizing the power of silence and the importance of simply listening
  • Listening to learn as opposed to listening to speak
  • Listening with uncertainty