One of the best ways to train a worker is to have someone more experienced come alongside of them and teach them the ins and outs of the job. This process is called mentoring.
Mentoring is a deliberate pairing of a more skilled or experienced person with a lesser skilled or experienced one with the agreed upon goal of having the lesser skilled person grow and develop specific competencies. Mentoring is an individualized, one-to-one environment for the exchange of experience and wisdom. One moves from equipping to mentoring when the focus shifts from the job-task-organization to the growth and development of the person as a whole. Mentoring occurs when we have transcended the position and focused on achieving the wants or needs of the protégé. A mentor is a guide. Mentors lead others through new terrain because they have been there before and are equipped to lead. Mentors model what they want their followers to do. Their actions weigh as heavy as their words. You are a mentor, and you need a mentor. Mentoring is a relational experience through which one person empowers another person to fulfill God’s design for their lives. A mentor is a tutor, a coach, a door opener, a way shower, a corrector, an encourager, and a guide. A mentor is a person who believes in you and wants to see you win.
Biblical examples of mentoring
1. Moses and Joshua
2. Eli and Samuel
3. Elijah and Elisha
4. Jesus and disciples
5. Barnabas and Saul
6. Barnabas and John Mark
7. Paul and Timothy
History of mentoring
The origin of the term “mentor” dates to the time of Homer when Odysseus left his son Telemachus in the care of a mythical guardian named Mentor. It illustrates a practice common in ancient Greece. Young men were often paired with older men in an attempt to pass on cultural values through emulation and training. The word derives from the image of a loyal, wise, and helpful friend—a teacher, protector, and guide––who uses his experience to show a person how to overcome difficulties and avoid dangers. From the Stone Age on, youngsters learned how to hunt, gather and prepare food, and fight their enemies under the guidance of older members of their family or clan.
In the Middle Ages, craftsmen in guilds made use of facilitated mentoring by taking on an apprentice and teaching him until he attained the status of master.
Mentoring can be seen in various internship programs, like medical interns and articled law students. Many colleges and seminaries are adding internship programs for pastors and staff; some are required, and some are electives. When a person writes a doctoral thesis, he has a mentor.
Since the mid 70s, there has been a renewed interest in mentoring. It is being used in many businesses, and in many educational and social organizations. In formal facilitated mentoring, each participant is oriented to their roles and responsibilities, care is taken to match the mentor and the protégé, and they actually negotiate an agreement. At the end of specified time, the relationship is terminated.
Benefits to the mentor
1. A close personal relationship
2. A sense of significance and accomplishment
3. Developing a renewed interest—personal renewal
4. Increased productivity
5. A sense of self-fulfillment
6. An impact through your life
7. A connection with the next generation
8. A sounding board for new ideas
There is no better way to learn than by teaching. However, a mentor must make the time commitment, expect little reward, and realize that the protégé may equal or exceed him.
Benefits of having a mentor
1. Promotes growth in protégé
2. Provides a model to follow
3. Helps to reach goals
4. Assistance in the organization – speaks up for you
5. Can accelerate the progress of the protégé
Characteristics of a good mentor
2. Leadership ability
3. Strong interpersonal skills – talk and listen
4. Can hold confidences
5. Able to confront when necessary
7. Accessible, and has time available
9. Committed to the success of the protégé
Characteristics of a good protégé
1. Similar life goals to the mentor
3. Self-disciplined and self-motivated
4. Positive attitude
5. Not satisfied with the status quo
6. Ability to communicate
7. Willingness to learn – teachable
8. Receptive to criticism
10. Enjoyable and comfortable to be with
Guidelines for finding the right mentor
1. Clarify your level of expectations.
2. Accept a subordinate, learning position.
3. Immediately put into effect what you are learning.
4. Be disciplined in relating to the mentor – use time wisely.
5. Reward your mentor with your own progress.
6. Don’t threaten to give up.
Guidelines for selecting a person to mentor
Spend 80% of your time on the most promising 20% of the potential leaders.
1. Select people whose philosophy of life is similar to yours.
2. Choose people with potential you genuinely believe in.
3. Determine what they need.
4. Evaluate their progress constantly.
5. Be committed, serious, and available to the people you mentor.
Developing a mentoring program in a local church
1. Remember that mentoring is a relationship, and not a program.
2. Provide opportunities for older men and women to find potential protégés and encourage them to develop the relationship of a mentor.
3. Teach about mentoring.
4. Enlist potential mentors.
5. Train the mentors.
6. Enlist protégés.
7. Train protégés.
8. Name the program (examples: Men’s Challenge, The 2:2 Program [after 2 Timothy 2:2], The Brotherhood of Barnabas, Pathfinders, Man to Man, etc.)