Emotions - ALL emotions - are a natural part of all relationships. That is why "name, feel, release" is the name of the game when it comes to managing emotions in mentoring.


Boy is that a loaded word.

Whether you are on the mentor or mentee side of the recovery fence, you are guaranteed to have them.

As a mentor, you may catch yourself feeling frustrated, elated, frightened, or even hopeless while watching your mentee navigate the ups and downs you still remember all too well from your own recovery journey (and may still be navigating yourself in other parts of your life).

As a mentee, you may watch your own emotions skyrocket or plummet, not yet even having descriptive names for some of the ones that feel (and sound!) like fearapathyrageresentmenthappinesspeaceloveangerRAGEregretgrief……

There is never a dull emotional moment on the road to recovery.

Managing emotions and mentoring is all about relationships.

Intrapersonal as well as interpersonal skills are needed to keep the mentoring connection on an even enough keel to be useful and usable.

What this means is that it is important to learn how to embrace the full emotional spectrum, denying yourself none of the emotional experiences the mentoring journey can bring.

If you are frustrated with your mentee as s/he rambles on down that same ol’ road yet again, FEEL it. You don’t have to say it, but you do have to feel it if you want your mentoring relationship to stay healthy.

If you are scared your mentor won’t understand something you want to tell him or her, you can share that you are feeling some fear, and then say what you want to say. Speaking aloud the emotion has the odd but helpful effect of slightly mitigating its hold over us – when we can name the emotion we are feeling, it is just a bit less frightening to feel and then release it.

By the way, if you need help naming the emotion you are feeling, that is a great task for you and your mentor to work on together!

Emotions can and will come up in the course of a mentoring relationship, just like they will in any other type of relationship. Being aware of this, being ready for it, and being willing to name, feel, and release each emotion as it comes is critical to the success of the partnership for both mentor and mentee.

Today’s Takeaway: Whether it is a mentoring relationship or some other relationship that is meaningful to you, where have you been allowing unexpressed (whether they need to be spoken or not) emotions roadblock you from gaining the full benefit of the connection with that other person? Give yourself permission to name, feel, and release those emotions and see how that changes your experience of the relationship.