Use Socratic questions to build insight. Rather than direct confronting a mentee’s narcissistic behavior, try dispassionate Socratic questioning. If they complain that other people don’t respect them, you can ask something like, “I wonder why so many people have that reaction to you?” You can also be more specific. You might say, “I’ve observed that some people seem to think you are arrogant. Can you think of any reasons why people might see you that way?” or “Help me understand what was going through your mind when so-and-so questioned your expertise.” Such gentle but persistent queries are often a best bet when it comes to lowering defensiveness and setting the stage for personal insight and change.
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