Summary: Mentoring-a Biblical example

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Mentoring – A way to Discipleship…

When we look at the word of God, we see in numerous times where a man of God linked with another to learn from them and be a partner in what they are doing. Examples are: Elijah & Elisha, David & Jonathan. Naomi & Ruth and ultimately learning from the life of Jesus. He called them one by one and discipled (mentored) them and they go out and do the same. Mentoring is really another term for Discipleship. Mentoring opens up to accountability (which some of us cringe to that very word). Mentoring – a way for today’s ministry. And let’s face it, we could do a little bit of help from our friends…

Let’s look at some principles of Mentoring and its definition.

Mentoring is a process where one wiser and more experienced person assists another person to grow and learn. Mentors are helpers… Whatever their style, they care about us and what we are trying to do.

What does Mentoring involve?

Mentoring is a learning partnership. Primary it involves commitment, open communication, confidentiality and risk taking.

How can a Mentor assist you?

Job orientation, career coach, skills, coach, technical confrere, confidant, personal or professional development, colleagueship, correspondent, group mentoring and for spiritual oversight.

Roles of a Mentor

Guidance, not direction, collaboration in the problem solving process, listen, question and challenge, provide feedback, options and advice, sounding board, counsellor, coach and consultant.

Problem Solving

Mentors can model sound problem solving processes.

• Define the problem, distinguishing between facts and assumptions.

• Specify objectives, determining desired outcome.

• Develop options, with a range of alternative actions.

• Evaluate options consider positive and negative aspects of each, decide most appropriate action.

• Take action, implement the decision

• Evaluate, review outcomes.

What does a mentor do?

• Assist in identifying the mentees’ skills.

• Help set career &/or developmental goals.

• Advise on strategies for goal achievement.

• Help with action plans.

• Refer the mentee to people who can assist.

• Rehearse/coach in effective communication strategies.

• Act as a role model.

• Review progress towards goals.

• Help evaluate options.

• Discuss barriers.

• Explain policy, procedures & structures.

• Give insight into organisational politics.

• Facilitate self-directed learning.

• Be a confidant re problems, difficulties & transitions.

• Remain non-judgemental.

Roles of a mentor (continued)

Mentors refrain from:

• Giving advice.

• Solving your problems for you.

• Over-ruling or undermining a mentees’ superior.

• Interfering with normal policies or procedures.

• Providing unfair advantage, special privileges or favours.

• Taking action on behalf of the mentee.

• Being an expert on all matters.

• Becoming involved in personal issues.

What does the mentor expect of the mentee?

• Willing to be responsible for their own growth & development.

• Receptive to feedback & coaching.

• Open to challenge & responsibility.

• Able to learn from mistakes.

• Self-aware.

• Conscientious, well organised.

• Positive & goal orientated.

Establishing the mentoring relationship

• Mentee makes the first contact.

• Develop a plan – goals

- What help is needed?

- What specifically do I want from my mentor?

- What actions will I take?

• Think of some questions to ask about the mentors career, job, experiences that helped & hindered, networking…etc.

• Dust off your resume.

Terminating the relationship

• Recognise when goals have been achieved or.

• When they are unlikely to be achieved & graciously let go.

• Recognise when the mentoring relationship has evolved into friendship.

Potential problems

• Incompatibility.

• Negotiating time with the mentees superior.

• Managing peoples perceptions.

Remember your place. Being mentored is a privilege not a right. It is wise to remember this when engaging in the process. Many times endurance is the key when mentees try and focus their energy by impressing the mentor out of their own insecurity. The tragedy of this phenomenon is that the mentor is often repelled by the experience instead of attracted to it and the process is consequently retarded or aborted prematurely!

In short, it is the person who approaches the mentor with respect and a genuine desire to learn who will inevitably be embraced.

In 2 Kings 2v9, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you”? His response? “Le me inherit a double portion”. In my opinion, this is the most exciting part of the story, and a great goal for all of us to aspire to. The message is simply this – there are great gains to be made from engaging in the mentoring process. Not only do you benefit from the revelation and lessons learnt in your own life, but you are also able to absorb those learnt from the sweat and tears of others.

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