Good tips about starting a mentoring relationship, something that is very much needed within our church, from Justin McLaury, Development Coordinator at The Journey.
Posted on Thousand Yard Star:
- Have an agenda: don’t just ask someone to meet with you because you need wisdom. Have some specific areas you’re looking for help in that you can communicate. Communicating clearly about what you’re looking for will help you recruit a mentor and will also make the time you spend together more beneficial. Don’t worry about getting too narrowly focused; as your mentor gets to know you further, he or she will naturally identify other areas in which you need development.
- Make it time bound: people are busy. Ask for a specific amount of time. If you need help getting your finances in order, ask a mentor to meet with you once a week for four weeks. If you need help parenting, ask your mentor to eat dinner with your family every other week for two months. Putting a time limit on your ask will make a potential mentor more likely to agree because the time investment is specific and has clear boundaries, i.e., you’re not asking for all of their time forever, just a small amount for a short period of time.
- Recruit a pool of mentors: not everyone is good at everything. When you set your agenda to decide what it is that you need, recruit a mentor who you believe has wisdom in that particular area. While it would be nice for you to find one person who can coach you in your whole life, such a setup would be exhausting and unrealistic for the mentor. In fact, you’ll probably be even better developed by many voices rather than just one.
- Give your mentor permission: some great mentors are reticent to share their wisdom for fear of stepping on your toes. Let them know they have carte blanche to speak into your life. One caveat to this one: you actually have to be willing to receive your mentor’s input before you give them this permission. If you’re not willing to let someone speak into your life, you probably shouldn’t be recruiting a mentor.