- Practice active listening skills
- Understand the concept of youth-centered mentoring
Healthy communication requires active listening skills. Active listening is about receiving information from the cadet and remaining non-judgmental and empathetic. How can you be an active listener?
- Give undivided attention! Find a time and place that allows you to focus on this cadet. Avoid mixing other obligations with this time and find a location that will not be distracting to either party.
- Seek to understand! When the cadet is sharing information, seek to understand. Ask more questions and try to withhold judgment.
- “What I hear you saying is…” We all want to be understood. Show the cadet you are listening.
- Non-verbals are powerful! 93% of communication is nonverbal. Show the cadet you are listening with your body language, i.e. head nodding, arms unfolded and eye contact.
Developing a youth-centered relationship is about finding a cadet’s strengths. This is a fundamental shift away from focusing on a child’s ‘issues.’ With active listening skills and an emphasis on identifying your cadet’s strengths, your relationship will be off to a good start.