• Our hope-filled future is bound up in sharing the story of Jesus, in discipling others, in bringing those disciples together into communities of believers, and in developing and releasing those believers to create other communities... till Jesus the King comes again!

Mentoring 101

mentoring5Mentoring is “the process where a person with a serving, giving, encouraging attitude, the mentor, sees potential in a still-to-be developed person, the mentoree, and is able to promote or otherwise significantly influence the mentoree along in the realization of potential.” In other words, mentoring is about helping or facilitating another in their lifelong development in character and competency.

However, mentoring another doesn’t just happen because we think the idea is “cool”. Getting involved in mentoring relationships begins with three critical steps.

The first critical step is to pray for and learn how to have “developmental eyes”. When a new worker joins our ministry team, how do we “see” them? Do we see them just as additional labor and hands for the work? Or do we see someone with potential to grow in certain areas, to potentially move into certain roles of responsibility? Do we assess the person as to what they can’t do or what they have the potential to do? There are vast differences in the ways we “see” people.

The second critical step is to develop your ability to mentor by asking more questions than you answer. This may be something that requires some new skill training as most of us are trained to answer questions more than we are to ask them. The aim in mentoring is to develop the other. Most often that occurs through their discovering truth and its application.

The final critical step is making known that you are available and willing to mentor others. I’m not talking about “tooting your horn”. I believe that workers truly do want to be mentored, but they often assume others don’t want to mentor them or don’t have the time to mentor. Making known your willingness to mentor offers the invitation to other workers to seek you out.

If one of our core values is training and developing leaders, I believe this means we should be characterized as a community that mentors others well.

2 Responses

  1. David, these are excellent steps. I think step 2 is still the hardest for me. It’s easy to talk about my experience, give my opinion, point to examples in my life… but it’s a true skill to be able to ask questions that elicit responses that lead to discovery and growth.

    • One way is to look for people who ask good questions; who have the skill of knowing how to ask questions. Observe what kind of questions they ask and how they ask those questions. One friend comes immediately to mind and I have learned much from just observing him. We can also just ask someone who is skilled in asking questions to help us.

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