Leadership & Formation #16: Mentoring Dynamics

Leadership & Formation #16: Mentoring Dynamics

stick_figure_hardhat_tighten_bolt_400_clr_8563.pngAs mentioned in the previous post leaders who have finished well have had from 10 to 15 mentors in their life.  Of those that do other individuals helped them in timely situations along the way and significantly enhanced their development.

It may be helpful to discuss a few mentoring concepts and principles first.

Mentoring Definition

Mentoring is a relational process in which a mentor, who knows or has experienced something, transfers that something (resources for wisdom, information, experience, confidence, insight, relationships, status, etc.) to a mentoree, at an appropriate time and manner, so that it facilitates development or empowerment.

Succinct Definition:  Mentoring is a relational experience through which one person empowers another by sharing God-given resources.

The term ‘mentor’ has an interesting origin.  In the Illiad, Odysseus, better known as Ulysses by the Romans much later, contracts his ‘wise and trusted counselor’ as a tutor for his son, Telemachus before leaving on a long journey lasting 20 years.  This journey was precipitated by the kidnapping of Helen by Paris, the son of the King of Troy.  The name of his tutor was Mentor.  Mentor's name – with a lower-case "m" – has passed into our language as a shorthand term for wise and trusted counselor and teacher.

Mentoring Contributions  

To finish well we will need from time to time a guide-by-the-side or a sage-on-the-stage; someone to help us navigate our journey, help us avoid dangerous pitfalls, hold us accountable, or provide a resource such as…

  • Wisdom and discernment…
  • Life experience…
  • Timely advice…
  • Competencies and skills…
  • Life principles…
  • Important values and lessons…
  • Direction and guidance…
  • Support and encouragement…
  • Sponsorship and networking…
  • A kick in the seat of the pants!

Mentoring Categories

There are basically three categories of mentors:  Intensive Mentors; Occasional Mentors, and Passive Mentors.

Intensive Mentoring is generally a formal process often using a prescribed curriculum or resource to build essential foundations into the life of the mentoree.  The process is more regimented and has a clear objective that will ultimately provide a basic platform for operation.

Occasional mentoring is a non-formal process that tailors the mentoring relationship to address a specific need or needs.  Once the need is addressed the mentoring ceases.  The need could be mastery of a particular competency, a problem to resolve, a weakness to eliminate, a skill to acquire, a network to access, or a sponsorship to seek.

Passive mentoring is an informal process that is initiated by the mentoree looking for inspiration, knowledge or wisdom from contemporary or historical models.  The resources provided by these ‘models’ may consist of books to read, workshops to attend, seminars to participate in, websites to search, podcasts to watch, webinars to attend, or audio tapes to listen to.  The mentoree will have little to no face-to-face contact with a person.  The passive mentor may be in fact deceased.  But these mentors, contemporary or historical, address a fundamental concern or growth requirement.

Why consider being mentored or mentoring others? 

  • People are longing for their story to be heard and their life to be shaped.
  • It is one of the most effective ways to change lives.
  • It provides an avenue for passing on what we have learned.
  • It is one of the most effective ways to shape a person’s character.
  • It can be a significant means to facilitate leadership development.
  • It is essential to finishing well as a leader.

To be continued…


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