Never underestimate the importance of listening and the benefit that this is to others. When we are in a mentoring situation, I think the danger is in feeling that you have to come up with solutions to people’s problems. We know this is not the case, but we sometimes feel a pressure to go into that ‘problem solving’ mode.
One of the things that I have learned is that when I am in a place of listening and especially when I feel overwhelmed, the most important thing I can do is pray while I listen. What I have noticed is that it is often the thing which seems most common sense or natural to you, which is the most helpful to others. Each of us have natural gifts and abilities that God has given us, and we also all have different life experience, and sometimes asking a question or voicing a thought that just pops into your head naturally is the most helpful thing to do.
So if you get to the end of a mentoring session and you feel that you have spent the whole session listening, then you will most probably have been a real help to your mentee. If they were not finding it helpful, then they would have stopped talking!