Sometimes you may catch yourself mirroring your mentee’s body language. This can give you an internal sense of how your mentee may be feeling.
In reading all of these messages you are using the core condition of empathy. (Rogers, C. 1989)
Reflecting back is the skill associated with empathic listening. This is where you offer back what your mentee is saying, paying particular attention to feelings.
Basic empathy involves offering back any feelings that your mentee is stating. The mentee can experience this as very affirming.
Advanced empathy is offering back unstated feelings which you are picking up from body language or voice tone. This is much more powerful than basic empathy as your mentee may not be consciously aware of these feelings. It is therefore best used tentatively and within a more established relationship.
You will have noticed that people express themselves very differently. Some are very practical or deal with facts, others with thoughts or ideas. Some express lots of feelings or images and metaphors. Some like to action plan and are goal oriented. Others concentrate more on the present or the past.
You are most likely to easily mentor those who process most like yourself. To mentor those who work very differently, you will need to temporarily suspend your own ways of processing and work within your mentee's preferred mode.