The secret of a good first session

Author: Martina Knitter, Mentoring Team Switzerland

Is it really a secret? No it is just a good story – YOUR story.

I just started a few days ago my new mentoring with the first runner up of the International competition “AICR Best Receptionist of the Year 2020”

The first session is always key to connect to your mentee and to build a trustful relationship. This is important for further success.

You need to find common ground and shared values in order to look into the future together.

But how would you do that? I am sometimes quite nervous about finding the right words in order to make it work for both sides.

You know what helps me? Storytelling!

Sharing a story of your own life, showing challenges, strengths, obstacles even shortfalls or success helps to crush the ice and build trust.

Try to be as authentic as possible, it is not about showing off or playing low profile. Don’t worry if you feel you have not experienced something big, the small details matter. They are showing who you are and how you make your decisions.

You might be surprised how many things you have in common and how easy you start talking to each other.

When you choose your story just think about a situation

  • A) you feel strongly about
  • B) could have some similarities your mentee could refer to
  • C) was important to you
  • D) had an impact on your current life.

If the mentor starts and tells his story first he helps the mentee to open up, to feel comfortable, ensure confidentiality as well as humanity.


Well at least my little story I shared on that day worked well for my mentee and it was a great start for our mentoring.


Now I would like to hear your experience with storytelling, mentoring or maybe you would like to share your little story. Send me an email or put it down in the comments.