Mentoring is one of the most powerful means God uses to develop leaders.
Yet most leaders struggle to find mentors.
Mentoring is a relational experience in which one person empowers another by sharing God-given resources (“Connecting,” Paul Stanley and J Robert Clinton).
Mentoring makes the mentor’s personal strengths, resources and network of contacts available to help a mentoree reach his or her goals. Mentoring takes place when one person exchanges help and his or her resources with another person, with the end-result of greater growth.
Need to find a Mentor? Here are two-ways I have found to help myself, and the leaders I coach, identify more mentors: (1) BREAK the myths often associated with mentoring, and (2) EXPAND your mentoring paradigm.
Shattering the Mentoring Myths
1. The ONE-MENTOR MYTH — Effective mentoring typically occurs through multiple of mentors and occurs over a life time. You can find a mentor if you shift to multiple mentors vs. the one, sage mentor view (i.e. Yoda).
2. The OLDER-MENTOR Myth — Any age can mentor any other age if they possess the resources and a teachable spirit.. Age 16 is not to young, and 80 is not to old! (This said… I do recognize cultural issues do come into play)
3. The NOT-AVAILABLE Myth — There are more mentors than you know. Mentoring needs to be seen as a series of functions, rather than as a person. Leaders will need a series of mentors, who fulfill different functions, in order to finish well.
4. The SOMEONE-ELSE NEEDS IT MORE Myth — All leaders, even those who mentor others, need mentoring. You do not get to clarity and the future alone. Mentoring is what occurs in body-life. Christian life is a life of community.
The breakthrough concept that has made mentoring available to many is the notion of identifying mentoring functions rather than assuming that one, ideal mentor could do it all.
Infrequently will you find all of the functions in one mentor, but if we shift to see the potential of a variety of mentors who possess various functions, we can find a series of mentors throughout our lifetime who can help resource our development.
Expanding Your View of Mentoring (Nine Types of Mentors)
(Adapted from Dr. J. Robert Clinton & Paul Stanley’s book, Connecting (NavPress)
There are at least NINE different mentoring types. They can be grouped around three basic dynamics of mentoring:
(1) Active mentoring types—disciplers, spiritual mentors, advisers—which called for face-to-face involvement and a commitment.
(2) Occasional mentoring types— less active mentoring types—mentor counselors, teachers, sponsors
(3) Passive mentoring—contemporary models, historical models, and divine contacts — helping mentorees by offering models, ideation, and non-contact influence.
The POINT: If you shift your view of mentoring and see mentoring as a series of functions as opposed to the “one” ideal mentor, you will have eyes to see more mentors that you thought are there to resource you and your leadership.