Vulnerability in Mentoring
April 3, 2023

Vulnerability is often considered a weakness and something to avoid.  Bestselling author Brene’ Brown, PhD, has devoted over 12 years researching vulnerability, and has found that uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure (vulnerability) is actually the birthplace of every positive emotion.  It is the willingness to show up and be seen, even when there are uncertainties.  In fact, vulnerability, Brown says, is essential to successful relationships!    

Vulnerability takes courage, and when practiced consistently in mentoring, makes a meaningful impact on your mentee.  The steps to practicing vulnerability in mentoring include:

  • Share what you have learned from your life experiences!  By knowing how you have grown and changed from your own struggles, disappointments and failures, you understand the value in the experience.  This puts you in a position to share what you have learned with your mentee, when the opportunity arises. 
  • Communication is always key.  Actively listen to gain understanding and withhold all judgment.  It is never safe to assume that you and your mentee have had the same experiences; however, your mentee benefits from knowing that you too make mistakes and learn from them.  Imagine the relief of your mentee when you share that you are an imperfect human that makes mistakes and has bad days, just like them!  Being vulnerable with your mentee is vital to building a healthy mentoring relationship.  

When we say “be vulnerable,” we are not suggesting that you talk about personal troubles or overshare what is going on in your life; we are asking that you be willing to express sensitivity, humility and imperfection

Vulnerability in Mentoring was the focus of Seedling’s March Mentor Training.  To view the PowerPoint slides, click here.


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