Choosing a Mentor – Part Four

We are looking at how to be wise when looking for and choosing a mentor. So far we have examined…                    1> A good mentor is a worthy example                                                                                                                                         2> A good mentor is available                                                                                                                                                    3> A good mentor has proven experience                                                                                                                                 4> A good mentor possesses wisdom                                                                                                                                         5> A good mentor provides friendship and support

6> A good mentor is a coach who makes a difference in people’s lives

A major theme in my life is the desire to add value to people and make a difference in their lives. One of the ways this happens is in a mentoring relationship (see yesterday’s blog – “Christians Can’t Be Passive). A mentor can be a great encourager when the person they are mentoring is wanting to grow and develop in the Christian faith and in their calling. In other words, they are not passive but are willing to invest time, effort, and even money to move forward in their knowledge, understanding, and application of biblical principles. To mature as a believer and minister.

In our world today we often substitute other words for “mentor.” The most familiar and common is the word “coach.” A coach is someone who carries a valued person from where they are to where they want to be. The key is ‘they want to be.” Otherwise, as I mentioned yesterday it just ends up in frustration… like pushing a parked car with the brakes on uphill by yourself. Not interested. 

In an article called, “A Coach By Any Other Namer” Kevin Hall describes what it means to be a coach. He writes,

      • In other cultures and languages, coaches are known by many different names and titles.
      • In Japan, a “sensei” is one who has gone further down the path. In martial arts, it is the designation for master.
      • In Sanskrit, a “guru” is one with great knowledge and wisdom. “Gu” means darkness, and “ru” means light – a guru takes someone from darkness into the light.
      • In Tibet, a “lama” is one with spirituality and authority to teach. In Tibetan Buddhism, the Dalai Lama is the highest ranking leader.
      • In Italy, a “maestro” is a master teacher of music. It is short for “maestro de cappella,” meaning master of the chapel.
      • In France, a “tutor” is a private teacher. The term dates back to the fourteenth century and refers to one who served as a watchman.
      • In England, a “guide” is one who know and shows the way. It denotes the ability to see and point out the better course. 
      • In Greece,. A “mentor” is a wise and trusted advisor. In The Odyssey, Homer’s Mentor was a protective and supportive counsellor. 

All these words describe the same role: One who goes before and shows the way. No matter what word you use to describe them, coaches make a difference in others’  lives. They help them grow. They improve their potential. They increase their productivity. They are essential to helping people effect positive change. 

Andy Stanley in “The Next Generation Leader” states, “You will never maximize your potential in any area without coaching. It is impossible. You may be good. You may even be better than everyone else. But without outside input you will never be as good as you could be. We all do better when someone is watching and evaluating … Self-evaluation is helpful, but evaluation from someone else is essential.”

In my opinion, good mentors share five common characteristics. They…

        • Care for the people they coach
        • Observe their attitudes, behaviour, and performance
        • Align them with their strengths for peak performance
        • Communicate and give feedback about their performance
        • Help them to improve their lives and performance 

Please note that the first letter of each characteristic spells “coach

The process of growing with the help of a mentor usually follows this pattern: It begins with awareness. You realize that you need help and that following yourself is not a viable option for effective personal growth. When a person comes to that realization, one of two things can happen. The first is that the person’s pride swells up and he cannot bring himself to ask another person for advice. This is a common reaction. However, to keep from looking ignorant, they almost always ensure their own ignorance.

The other reaction to awareness is to humble yourself and say, “I need your help.” That decision not only leads to greater knowledge, but it also often develops maturity. It reinforces that people need one another [- not just when they are young and starting out, but their entire lives. 

Chuck Swindoll in “The Finishing Touch” states…

“Nobody is a whole chain. Each one is a link. But take away one link and the chain is broken.

Nobody is a whole team. Each one is a player. But take away one player and the game is forfeited.

Nobody is a whole orchestra. Each one is a musician. But take away one musician and the symphony is incomplete…

You guessed it. We need each other. You need someone and someone needs you. Isolated islands we’re not. 

To make this thing called life work, we gotta lean and support. And relate and respond. And give and take. And confess and forgive. And reach out and embrace. And release and rely…

Since none of us is a whole, independent, self-sufficient, super-capable, all-powerful hotshot, let’s quit acting like we are. Life’s lonely enough without our playing that silly role. 

The game’s over. Let’s link up.” 

Choosing a Mentor – Part Three

We are looking at how to be wise when looking for and choosing a mentor. So far we have examined…

1> A good mentor is a worthy example                                                                                                                                         2> A good mentor is available                                                                                                                                                    3> A good mentor has proven experience

4> A good mentor possesses wisdom

There’s a well-known story of an expert who was called by a company to look at their manufacturing system. It had broken and everything was at a standstill. When the expert arrived, he carried nothing but a little black bag.

Silently he walked around the equipment for a few minutes and then stopped. As he focused on one specific area of the equipment, he pulled a small hammer out of his bag and he tapped it gently. Suddenly everything began running again, and he quietly left.

The next day he send a bill that made the manager go ballistic. It was for $1000! Quickly the manager e-mailed the expert and wrote, “I will not pay this outrageous bill without it being itemized and explained.” Soon he received an invoice with the following words:

For the tapping on equipment with hammer – $1                                                                                                                  For knowing where to tap – $999

That is the value of wisdom. Mentors with wisdom often show us where to tap. Their understanding, experience, and knowledge help us to solve problems that we would have a hard time handling on our own.

One of my mentors (I read everything he ever wrote) when asked why highly successful people often sabotaged their lives and hurt their careers said, “Never confuse the giftedness of a person with the person. Their gifts allow them to do amazing things but the person may be flawed, which will eventually cause harm.” That bit of wisdom about a person’s character has helped me immeasurably. First, it helped me to better understand how to work with talented people and to help them develop. Second, it has been a caution to me personally. I know that having talent in a given area never exempts me from neglecting discipline or character issues. We’re all just one step away from stupid.

Wise people often use just a few words to help us learn and develop. They open our eyes to worlds we might not have otherwise seen without their help. They help us navigate difficult situations. They help us to see opportunities we would otherwise miss. They make us wiser than our years and experience. 

5> A good mentor provides friendship and support

The first question most followers ask of a mentor is, “Do you care for me?” The reason for this question is obvious. Who wants to be guided by a person who isn’t interested in them? Selfish people will assist you only insofar as it advances their own agenda. Good mentors provide friendship and support, unselfishly working to help you reach your potential. Their mind-set is well expressed by business coach and author James Vuocolo, who says, “Great things happen whenever we stop seeing ourselves as God’s gift to others, and begin seeing others as God’s gift to us.”

If the person who offers to mentor you doesn’t really support you and offer you friendship, then the relationship will always fall short of your expectations. Knowledge without support is sterile. Advice without friendship feels cold. Candour without care is harsh. However, when you are being helped by someone who cares for you it is emotionally satisfying. Growth comes from both the head and the heart. Only supportive people are willing to share both with you. 

More next time…

Choosing a Mentor – Part Two

We are looking at how to be wise when looking for and choosing a mentor. Last time we saw…

1> A good mentor is a worthy example

2> A good mentor is available

Andrew Carnegie stated, “As I grow older I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do.” As I grow older I too am doing just that. For us to be able to observe models (mentors) up close and see what they do, we must have some contact with them. That requires access and availability. For us to be actively mentored, we must have time with people to ask questions and learn from their answers all the time watching how they live and work.

When I mentor people, we usually meet once a month at the most. However, I am available by email and text at other times should they have a question or a concern between in-person meetings. Many of their mentoring questions are stimulated by my actions, not my words. That, of course, is a humbling thought. I know at times I fall short of the ideals and values that I teach and that we see in Scripture. Often the greatest leadership challenge I have is leading me! Teaching people what to do is easy. Showing them is much more difficult.

The greatest piece of advice that I ever received from my mentors is in the area of availability. When you are looking for a mentor, don’t shoot too high too soon. If you are considering going into politics for the first time, you don’t need the advice of the president or prime minister of your nation. If you are a high school student starting work at MacDonalds, you don’t need to relate directly to the manager or owner of your local hamburger joint. If you are fresh out of school and just starting your career, don’t expect to get extensive mentoring from the CEO of your organization.

Why shouldn’t I? You may be thinking. Why not start with the best? First of all, if you’re just starting out, nearly all your questions can be answered by someone two or three levels ahead of you – not ten. And their answers will be fresh because they will have recently dealt with the issues you are dealing with. Second, CEOs need to be spending their time answering questions of the people who are on the verge of leading at their level. I’m not saying you should never go to the top. I’m saying spend the majority of your time being mentored by people who are available, willing, and suited for the current stage of your career. And as you progress in your development, find new mentors for your new level of growth. 

3> A good mentor has proven experience

The farther you go in pursuit of your potential, the more new ground you will have to break. How do you figure out how to proceed? Benefit from others’ experiences. As the Chinese proverb says, “To know the road ahead, ask those coming back.”

Ever time I have entered into a new venture, I’ve sought the advice of people with proven experience. When I planted my first church; when I formed a network of churches; when I began to travel overseas on a regular basis; when I started ministering apostolically; when I left full-time pastoring; and now as I devote quality time daily to the writing and publishing of books. Hearing about their bad experiences makes me aware of potential problems I will be facing up the road. Hearing about their good experiences gives me an anticipation of potential opportunities up ahead of me.

I don’t know of a successful person who hasn’t learned from more experienced people. Sometimes they follow in their footsteps. Other times they use their advice to help them break new ground. Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani says, “All leaders are influenced by those they admire. Reading about them and studying their traits inevitably allows an inspiring leader to develop his own leadership traits.”

I personally read at least one biography or autobiography every month. Recently I read Michele Obama’s book “Becoming.” I am currently reading “Born With Teeth” by Kate Mulgrew who played Captain Kathryn Janeway on Star Trek Voyager. You can always learn by reading the life story and adventures of others. 

More next time…

Choosing a Mentor – Part One

Personal growth should be the number one priority of all believers who are serious about following Jesus and reaching their divine purpose in life. Since I began my walk with the Lord over 43 years ago I have had a series of mentors.

At first, I simply grabbed hold or anyone who was willing to impart information into my life. This was good as I was a young believer and gained a great deal from other more mature believers and leaders. But this was a scattershot approach. Although I learned a lot I did not achieve the traction that I had hoped for. Then I figured out that I needed to focus my growth on my areas of personal strength: relationships, communications, teaching, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. When I did that, my effectiveness in growth started to increase. Most of my early mentors were authors whose books I devoured.

Through one of my mentors I started to learn to glean from what I was studying. Resources have little value unless you can pull from them the essentials that you need. That meant learning that I didn’t have to finish a book simply because I started it. I could read only the portions that I needed and deemed important at the time. I learned how to take useful notes, gather quotes, and, most importantly, reflect on what I was learning. I often summarized what I learned and wrote follow-up points inside the front and back covers of a book that was significant and life-changing for me. And, I learned to collect, categorize, and file stories and quotes every day. I also put into practice anything I learned at my earliest opportunity.

Of course, all of that is so much easier now with a good laptop computer or a tablet. And, even today, these disciplines are still part of my daily routine. I read several books a week, I listen to podcasts and watch You Tube videos of good preaching or interviews with people I admire and can learn from. However, I also learned early in my professional life and ministry that personal growth without the benefit of personal mentors could take me only so far. If I wanted to become the leader and teacher that I desired to be – and believed that God had created and called me to become – I needed to find models who were ahead of me to learn from. Why? Because it is hard to improve when you have no one but yourself to follow. 

I have learned a lot from people I have never met or met briefly. Reading helps you to grow and gain from the experience and wisdom of others who have written books and shared their hard earned lessons with the reader. Most people who decide to grow personally find their first motors in the pages of books. That is a great place to start. For that matter, it’s a great place to continue. I am still learning from dozens of people every year that I will never meet. But at some point, you must find personal, in-person, models too. If you follow only yourself, you will find yourself going in circles.

When choosing mentors and models, you must be careful and be selective. There were these two derelicts sunning themselves on a park bench. The first guy said, “The reason I’m here is because I refused to listen to anyone.” The second guy responded, “The reason I’m here is because I listened to everyone.”

Neither course of action is helpful. You must be selective in who you choose as a mentor. From both the positive and negative experiences I haver had with mentors, I went looking for direction as to how to properly choose a mentor who would be a real benefit to me. One of my early mentors developed the following criteria to determine the ‘worthiness’ of a model for me to follow.

1> A good mentor is a worthy example

We become like the people we admire and the models we follow. For that reason, we should take great care when determining which people we ask to mentor us. They must not only display professional excellence and possess skill sets from which we can learn, they must also demonstrate character worthy of emulating.

Many athletes, celebrities, politicians, and business leaders today try to disavow being any kind of role model when others are already following them and mimicking their behaviour. They want people to separate their personal behaviour from their professional life, but such a division cannot really be made. Religious leader and author Gordon B. Hinckley advised,

“It is not wise, or even possible, to divorce private behaviour from public leadership – though there are those who have gone to great lengths to suggest that this is the only possible view of ‘enlightened’ individuals. They are wrong. They are deceived. By its very nature, true leadership carries with it the burden of being an example. Is it asking too much of any public officer, elected by his or her constituents, to stand tall and be a model before the people – not only in the ordinary aspects of leadership but in his or her behaviour? If values aren’t established and adhered to at the top, behaviour down the ranks is seriously jeopardized and undermined. Indeed, in any organization where such is the case – be it a family, a corporation, a society, or a nation – the values being neglected will in time disappear.”

As you look for role models and mentors, scrutinize their personal lives as carefully as their public performance. Your values will be influenced by theirs, so you shouldn’t be too casual who you choose to follow.

More next time….

Eagles Make Life Happen

As a leader I am often asked to disciple or mentor young people. I am open to saying “yes” to those who have a call on their lives to be part of the fivefold ministry team as seen in Ephesians 4:11-12

“And he (Jesus) gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ…”

However, a call is not enough. I have worked with and even travelled with young men who have a strong call of God on their life who were disasters looking for a place to happen. Others simply were of no help on the trips they took with me and actually created more work for me and damaged the reputation of my ministry that has taken decades to build. The issue is more than a call – it is their character.

So, when saying “yes” to someone wanting to be discipled, mentored, or a member of my team on an overseas trip I am much more hesitant than ever before. I need a season to come to know the person really well and to experience them in action so as to see their character and their relational abilities. 

Now, when I say “yes” to someone I am looking for what I call “an eagle.” These are people with great potential that I can then create an environment for them to flourish, reach their potential, and emerge as powerful ministers of the Gospel of the Kingdom and leaders in their own right. The have the qualities, the character, and the motivation to develop into powerful leaders or “eagles.” If they have what is required to grow and develop and blossom – and are willing to learn and relate to me and my team, then they are considered for entering a mentoring relationship with me. I am looking for “baby eagles’ who have the potential to develop into strong, mature eagles.

The ten marks of an eagle are:

      • Eagles make things happen
      • Eagles see and seize opportunities
      • Eagles influence the opinions and actions of others
      • Eagles add value to you
      • Eagles draw winners to them
      • Eagles equip other eagles to lead
      • Eagles provide ideas that help the organization or ministry
      • Eagles possess an uncommonly great attitude
      • Eagles live up to their commitments and responsibilities
      • Eagles show fierce loyalty to the organization and the leader 

So, I am much slower in saying “yes” to someone who wants to be discipled or mentored. I am much more selective as to whom I choose to invest my time and energy in. I am looking for young people with a call and with character … and the potential, with my help, to become eagles. 

Few People Want to Stretch

I have observed that most people do not want to change or to grow. They often talk a good talk but the walk is missing. They know what they should do to improve their family, their job, their financial situation, their level of satisfaction and fulfillment. But, they simply don’t do it. And, you can offer them an amazing amount of good advice based on your own life experiences and your education and knowledge and nothing changes. As a result they simply keep going around and around the same mountain all of their lives never conquering the issue or the situation. They simply never grow up and talk responsibility as an adult to grow and mature, to change, to reach their potential, to fulfill God’s plan and purpose for their life. 

Most people use only a small fraction of their ability and rarely strive to reach their full potential.  There is no motivation to grow in their lives, little to no desire to stretch and become a better person and build a better life. Sadly, a third of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives, and 42 percent of college graduated similarly never read a book after college. And publisher David Godine claims that only 32 percent of the U.S. population has ever been in a bookstore. I don’t know if people are aware of the gap between where they are and where they could be, but relatively few seem to be reading books to try and close it. 

To many people are willing to settle for average in life. Is that bad? Read the description written by Edmund Gaudet, and then you decide:

      • “Average” is what the failures claim to be when their family and friends ask them why they are not more successful.
      • “Average” is the top of the bottom, the best of the worst, the bottom of the top, the worst of the best. Which of these are you?
      • “Average” means being run-of-the-mill, mediocre, insignificant, an also-ran, a nonentity.
      • Being “average”is the lazy person’s cop-out; it’s lacking the guts to take a stand in life; it’s living by default.
      • Being “average” is to take up space for no purpose; to take the trip through life, but never to pay the fare; to return no interest for God’s investment in you.
      • Being “average” is to pass one’s life away with time, rather than to pass one’s time away with life; it’s to kill time, rather than to work it to death.
      • To be “average” is to be forgotten once you pass from this life. The successful are remembered for their contributions; the failures are remembered because they tried; but the “average,” the silent majority, is just forgotten.
      • To be “average” is to commit the greatest crime one can against one’s self, humanity, and one’s God. The saddest epitaph is this: “Here lies Mr. and Ms. Average – here lies the remains of what might have been, except for their belief that they were only ‘average’.”

I cannot stand the idea of settling for average, can you? Nobody admires average. The best organizations don’t pay for average. Mediocrity is not worth shooting for. As novelist Arnold Bennet said, The real tragedy is the tragedy of the man who never in his life braces himself for his one supreme effort, who never stretches to his full capacity, never stands up to his full stature.” 

We must be aware of the gap that stands between us and our potential, and let the tension of that gap motivate us to keep striving to become better. 

Mentor -Mentee

If you are someone who is dedicated to personal growth, you will always be learning from many people in many places. Occasionally, you will have an opportunity to be mentored on an ongoing basis by an individual. This usually happens because you go looking for the help. Good mentors seldom find you as they are usually very busy. You need to search for one and ask them to walk along side you and mentor you.

Being mentored by someone who is successful in your area of interest has great value. However, let me give you some advice as you look for and approach a mentor. If you find a potential mentor, know that the following are your responsibility:

      • Be hungry to learn and grow
      • Be assertive and aggressive, not passive
      • Possess a teachable spirit
      • Always be prepared for the time you get with your mentor
      • Set the agenda by asking great questions
      • Demonstrate how you’ve learned from your time together
      • Be accountable for what you have learned

As someone who had mentored a lot of people, here are what I believe the responsibilities of a mentor are. My responsibility to the people I mentor is to add value. My goal is always to help them to become more than they are, not to try to make them something they’re not. These are the areas I focus on:

      • Strengths
      • Temperament
      • Track record
      • Passion 
      • Choices
      • Advice
      • Support, resources, connections
      • Game plan
      • Feedback
      • Encouragement 

For each of these areas, think about what specific contribution you can offer to the person you are mentoring.

In one case I heard of, during the start of the second meeting with the mentor, the one being mentored said:

      • Here’s what I asked
      • Here’s what you shared
      • Here’s what I did
      • Now can I ask more questions?

This situation would be a mentor’s delight. 

Every person who can help you is not necessarily the right person to help you. You must pick and choose. And so must they. Your goal should be to find a fit that is mutually beneficial for both mentor and mente

A Good Mentor

A major theme in my life is the desire to add value to people and make a difference in their lives. One of the ways this happens is in a mentoring relationship (see yesterday’s blog – “Christians Can’t Be Passive). A mentor can be a great encourager when the person they are mentoring is wanting to grow and develop in the Christian faith and in their calling. In other words, they are not passive but are willing to invest time, effort, and even money to move forward in their knowledge, understanding, and application of biblical principles. To mature as a believer and minister.

In our world today we often substitute other words for “mentor.” The most familiar and common is the word “coach.” A coach is someone who carries a valued person from where they are to where they want to be. The key is ‘they want to be.” Otherwise, as I mentioned yesterday it just ends up in frustration… like pushing a parked car with the brakes on uphill by yourself. Not interested. 

In an article called, “A Coach By Any Other Namer” Kevin Hall describes what it means to be a coach. He writes,

      • In other cultures and languages, coaches are known by many different names and titles.
      • In Japan, a “sensei” is one who has gone further down the path. In martial arts, it is the designation for master.
      • In Sanskrit, a “guru” is one with great knowledge and wisdom. “Gu” means darkness, and “ru” means light – a guru takes someone from darkness into the light.
      • In Tibet, a “lama” is one with spirituality and authority to teach. In Tibetan Buddhism, the Dalai Lama is the highest ranking leader.
      • In Italy, a “maestro” is a master teacher of music. It is short for “maestro de cappella,” meaning master of the chapel.
      • In France, a “tutor” is a private teacher. The term dates back to the fourteenth century and refers to one who served as a watchman.
      • In England, a “guide” is one who know and shows the way. It denotes the ability to see and point out the better course. 
      • In Greece,. A “mentor” is a wise and trusted advisor. In The Odyssey, Homer’s Mentor was a protective and supportive counsellor. 

All these words describe the same role: One who goes before and shows the way. No matter what word you use to describe them, coaches make a difference in others’  lives. They help them grow. They improve their potential. They increase their productivity. They are essential to helping people effect positive change. 

Andy Stanley in “The Next Generation Leader” states, “You will never maximize your potential in any area without coaching. It is impossible. You may be good. You may even be better than everyone else. But without outside input you will never be as good as you could be. We all do better when someone is watching and evaluating … Self-evaluation is helpful, but evaluation from someone else is essential.”

John Maxwell states, “In my opinion, good coaches share five common characteristics. They…

      • Care fort the people they coach
      • Observe their attitudes, behaviours, and performances 
      • Align them with their strengths for peak performance
      • Communicate and give feedback about their performance
      • Help them to improve their lives and performance 

We all need at least one mentor in our lives. 

Leaders, Who Should We Mentor? – Part Four

We are looking at the qualities in a person you would like to see before agreeing to enter into a mentoring relationship with them. We have looked briefly at…

1> They make things happen

2> They see and seize opportunities

3> They influence others

4> They add value to those around them

5> They attract others (potential) leaders

6> They equip others

7> They provide inspiring ideas

8> They possess uncommonly positive attitudes

A good attitude is important to see in those you are going to mentor. It often determines how far you will be able to go in bringing them to maturity in the mentoring relationship. Never underestimate the importance of a positive attitude in those you are mentoring. When you travel in life with others, you can only go as fast as the slowest person and as far as the weakest one can travel. Having people around you with negative attitudes is like running a race with a ball and chain on your ankle. You may be able to run for a while, but you are going to get tired fast, and you certainly won’t be able to run as far as you would like.

I have learned this recently with a person that I have mentored for a number of years. Deep inside he is a very negative person. When he is really tired or frustrated this negativity comes out in a strong manner. But, it is there every day if you jus take the time to listen closely.  I thought and believed that through mentoring this tendency to being generally negative and at times strongly negative could be trained out of him. Maybe it can, but I have failed to do so. As a result, I have needed to terminate the mentoring relationship as it is not moving forward. He is not growing and developing and I am being drained emotionally and mentally.

9> They live up to their commitments

Commitment is giving the mentoring relationship everything the person has got. Commitment takes a person to a whole new level when it comes to being mentored and becoming a success in life and in ministry. 

Joe Griffith, a motivational speaker, is quoted as saying: “You cannot keep a committed person from success. Place stumbling blocks in his way, and he takes them for stepping-stones, and on them he will climb to greatness. Take away his money, and he makes spurs of his poverty to urge him on. The person who succeeds has a program; he fixes his course and adheres to it; he lays his plans and executes them; he goes straight to his goal. He is not pushed this side and that every time a difficulty is thrust in his way. If he can’t go over it, he goes through it.”

When the people you are mentoring share your level of commitment, the mentoring relationship will be a success. Commitment helps you overcome obstacles and continue moving forward on the journey no matter how tough the going gets. It is the key to success and progress in every aspect of life: marriage, business, personal development, hobbies, sports – you name it. Commitment can and does carry you a very long way when in a mentoring relationship. 

10> The last quality you should look for in people to mentor is loyalty. Although this alone does not ensure a great mentoring experience, a lack of loyalty is sure to ruin your mentoring relationship with them. Think of it this way: When you are looking for potential leaders to mentor, if someone you are considering lacks loyalty, he is disqualified. Don’t even consider trying to develop him, because in the end, he will hurt you more than help you. 

So, what does it mean for others to be loyal to you?

  • They love you unconditionally. They accept you with your strengths and weaknesses intact. They genuinely care for you, not just for what you can do for them. And they are neither trying to make you into someone you are not not putting you on a pedestal.
  • The represent you well to others. Loyal people always paint a positive picture of you with others. They may take you to task privately or hold you accountable, but they never criticize you to others.
  • They are able to laugh and cry with you as you travel together. Loyal people are willing and able to share your joys and sorrows. They make the trip less lonely.
  • They make your dream their dream. Some people will undoubtedly share the journey with you only briefly. You help one another for a while and then go your separate ways. But a few – a special few – will want to come alongside you and help you for the rest of the journey. These people make your dream their dream. They will be loyal unto death, and when they combine that loyalty with other talents and abilities, they can be some of your most valuable team members. If you find people like that, take good care of them.

The funny thing about loyalty is that the more successful you are, the more of an issue it becomes.

As you pick people to mentor, focus on people who will not only make the most of what you give in the mentoring relationship and, at the same time, help you. Pick people who will past it on. Mentoring is meant to be shared. 

Leaders, Who Should We Mentor? – Part Three

As I learned the hard way about who to mentor and who not to, I began to create a list of qualities I was looking for in those I am now willing to mentor and invest time in. So far we have looked at five in the last two days.

The five we saw and spoke about were…

1> They make things happen

2> They see and seize opportunities

3> They influence others

4> They add value to those around them

5> They attract others (potential) leaders

Let’s continue…

6> They equip others

It is one thing to attract other people to you and have them join you as you journey together in life and in ministry. It is another to equip them with a road map for the trip. The best people always give others more than an invitation – they provide the means to get them there. They equip people with the skills and knowledge, information and vision that they need to move forward and become all that they can be. 

Think about this as you search for potential people to mentor – especially if you are a leader who should be mentoring younger leaders. A person with charisma alone can draw others to themselves, yet they may not be able to persuade them to join in the ministry that the Lord has given to them. However, a leader who is an equipper can empower and equip with skills and knowledge those they are mentoring so that together they can fulfill God’s call on the ministry and the Church. 

Ephesians 4:11-12 states: “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ…”

7> They provide inspiring ideas

Nineteenth-century author-playwright Victor Hugo observed, “There’s nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” Ideas are the greatest resource a person could ever have. And, when looking for someone to invest in and mentor, it is good to look for someone who is a creative person. 

A creative person is someone who can add to your church or ministry as they are being mentored by you. So, they are contributing to and not just drawing from you and your ministry. And, a team that generates creative ideas has a better opportunity to reach the vision and mission of your organization and ministry.

When working with and mentoring creative people, it is good to remember:

  • The only truly bad ideas are those that die without giving rise to other ideas
  • If you want good ideas, you need a lot of ideas
  • It doesn’t matter if “it ain’t broke.” It probably still can use fixing
  • Great ideas are nothing more then the restructuring of what you already know
  • When all your ideas are added together, the sum should represent your breakthrough

You are capable of generating good ideas – probably better able than you think. But you can never have too many good ideas, so invite those you are mentoring to think out loud with you and join you in the creative process. And, when you find someone to mentor with whom you have natural chemistry, the kind that inspires each of you to greatness, you will find that you always have more ideas than time to carry them out. 

More next time…