Best Practices for Mentoring – Part 2
Guidelines For Mentoring Relationships
from “Developing The Leaders Around You, by John C. Maxwell
When you find someone who can personally mentor you, use these guidelines to help develop a positive mentoring relationship with that person.
- Ask the right questions: Give thought to questions you will ask before you meet with your mentor. Make them strategic for your own growth.
- Clarify your level of expectations: Generally, the goal of mentoring is improvement, not perfection. Perhaps only a few people can be truly excellent – but all of us can become better.
- Accept a subordinate, learning position: Don’t let ego get in the way of learning. Trying to impress the mentor with you knowledge or ability will set up a mental barrier between you. It will prevent you from receiving what he is giving.
- Respect the mentor but don’t idolize him: Respect allows us to accept what the mentor is teaching. But making the mentor an idol removes the ability to be objective and critical – faculties we need for adapting a mentor’s knowledge and experiences to ourselves.
- Immediately put into effect what you are learning.: In the best mentoring relationships, what is learned comes quickly into focus. Learn, practice and assimilate.
- Be disciplined in relating to the mentor: Arrange for ample and consistent time, select the subject matter in advance and do your homework to make the sessions profitable.
- Reward your mentor with your own progress: If you show appreciation but make no progress, the mentor experiences failure. Your progress is his highest reward. Strive for growth, then communicate your progress.
- Don’t threaten to give up: Let you mentor know you have made a decision for progress and that you are a persistent person – a determined winner. Then he will know he is not wasting his time. There is no substitute for your own personal growth. If you are not receiving and growing, you will not be able to give to the people you nurture and develop.
Set Goals For Growth
People need clear objectives set before them if they are to achieve anything of value. Success in a church never comes instantaneously. It comes from taking many small steps.
- Make the goals appropriate.
Always keep in mind the job you want people to do and its desired result. Identify the goals that will contribute to that larger goal.
- Make the goals attainable.
Nothing will make people want to quit faster than facing unachievable goals. It’s important to never ask people to accomplish goals they can’t accept.
- Make the goals measurable.
Your potential leaders will never know when they have achieved their goals if they aren’t measurable. When they are measurable, the knowledge that they have been attained will give them a sense of accomplishment. It will also free them to set new goals in place of the old ones.
- Clearly state the goals.
When goals have no clear focus, neither will the actions of the people trying to achieve them.
- Make the goals require a “stretch”.
Goals have to achievable. However, when goals don’t require a stretch, the people achieving them won’t grow. The leader must know his people well enough to identify attainable goals that require a stretch.
- Put the goals in writing
When people write down their goals, it makes them more accountable for those goals.
A study of a Yale University graduating class showed that the small percentage of graduates who had written down their goals accomplished more than all of the other graduates combined. Putting goals in writing works!
By Tim Pruitt