we look at the subject and process of mentoring for leadership we must first
give specific definitions to certain words in the context of how we are
discussing this subject. Without the specific definitions of the key words, the
subject is easily twisted to suit the participant's perspective as opposed to
the desired effect in the setting in which the mentoring process is utilized.
Great Commission that Jesus gave to
His Apostles just before He ascended in Matthew 28, is in fact a call to become
a mentor of others in their spiritual lives in Jesus Christ as Christians.
"Go therefore and make disciples of
all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the
Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am
with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:19-20) The
issue of “making disciples”
involved in an act of spiritual mentoring.
let’s define what a "Mentor"
truly is. A mentor is an experienced person who trains or educates someone else
by instruction and example. Please note the two key components in this
definition. They are "instruction"
and "example". A real
mentor is not just and educator. This is because not all educators lead others
by a personal example in their lives. The educator may be very learned in a
particular subject, but have never experienced it in their own personal
history. Thus, an educator may be able to teach the subject or topic of
interest from an intellectual standpoint based on known facts or theories
involved in that subject, but the educator cannot be a mentor to someone in
that arena of study because they cannot be observed in and exemplary situation
of practical experience. A mentor must be able to adequately convey both
intellectual instruction and a practical "real time" example in both the arenas of study or practice.
that, let us be sure not to diminish the role of the educator. Education is
vital important to our mental development, our spiritual growth and even our
physical well being. Many of us are educated not only in an academic
environment, but also outside the classroom by numerous educators throughout
our lives. But the purpose of this study is not define education or the
educator, but to simply see the educational part of our life experience as
vital and necessary to our development.
concept of being a "self-taught
person" in any academic discipline or arena of study or practice is
somewhat of a “half-truth”
every circumstance outside of the spectrum of the miraculous. When someone
claims such a developmental process, what they are really saying is that they
were educated in that arena by less conventional means that would normally
apply to that.
me illustrate this from a personal example in my own life. I consider myself to
be a “self-taught” musician. My
primary instruments are the bass guitar and the piano, or keyboards. Before I
reached the age of 14, I took a limited amount of private lessons in either
instrument. I never completed a work book or learning manual and didn't pursue
these skills with more than a few one hour personal sessions with a skilled and
accomplished instructor as an adolescent. Yet, through the last four decades of
my life I have played as a paid musician on several recording album projects. I
have performed on stage with many gifted and professional musicians and singers
as both a keyboard artist and bass guitarist. And yet to this day I play the
keyboards and guitar regularly at our church worship services.
might say that I just have a natural talent or ability in the arena and study
of music. To some extent that is probably true. But, I also personally know
that I was educated all along through various ways and means, or would not have
advanced to the level of skill I display at this stage in my life. I learned
how to become a more skilled musician by listening and observing other
musicians in a non-formal educational and mentoring relationship.
illustration and concept brings us to understand that there are two types of
mentors. They would be classified as "Active
Mentors" and "Passive
Mentors". An active mentor is someone who is consciously aware of
their participation in a mentoring relationship. A passive mentor is one who is
not consciously aware of their role in a mentoring relationship. This is when a
“mentoree” (the one being
listens and observes the examples of the passive mentor from some sort of
discernable distance even to the point that the passive mentor may not even be
aware of his or her role as a mentor in someone's life experience.
active mentor is personally acquainted with the mentoree
and actively builds the relationship intentionally and with
a purpose. There is a definite recognizably and positive two way relationship
between the mentor and the person being mentored (mentoree). On the other hand, the passive mentor may not even be
aware that the mentoree exists. While
the passive mentor may indeed actually be pursuing intellectual instruction as
well as yielding high amounts of exemplary circumstances and situations in their
personal and public life, the recognizable and positive two relationship
between the mentor and the mentoree
is not in existence. The obvious conclusion is that an active mentor can have
more of a positive effective result in the mentoree's
life and development than can the passive mentor. This is true even though both
are very viable forms of mentoring relationships. We must also be certain to note
that a mentoree may be mentored by
active mentor and several passive mentors at the same time.
let's define the "Mentoree",
or the person who is being mentored. A mentoree
is a person who receives both instruction and examples from a mentor for the
reason of developing their desired skills and personal goals. Please note the
two key components to this definition. They are "desired skills" and "personal
goals". This would indicate that there must be some form of interest
invested into the relationship by the mentoree.
The mentoree must have a conscious
desire to obtain and/or develop skills that they desire to have. This means
that such desired skills and abilities may not be developed to a useable level
or that they may not be fully developed in a productive sense. Thus, there is a
need for the mentoring relationship and process to be a functioning part of
their life in order to reach the goals of the mentoree. The mentoree
must recognize and acknowledge this need for the mentoring process to be an
effective tool in their life.
let us bring specific attention to the word "desired" in
this definition. The results of a mentoring
relationship will be much more effective when the "desire" is originally generated from the mentoree. Eventually the active mentor may see the potential of the
mentoree and build a desire to see
the mentoree grow and succeed in
their goals. But the ultimate energizing source should be the desire of the mentoree to learn and develop desired
skills from the mentoring relationship. When this desire leans more on the side
of the mentor instead of the mentoree,
the effect of the relationship is almost always diminished to some extent.
last two definitions we should establish are those of "Mentoring"
and the "Leader". The simple and short
answer for the word mentoring is: the process of interaction between a mentor
and a mentoree. The long answer we
will unpack more in the next section of this course when we look at the
qualities of an effective mentoring relationship.
for the sake of understanding specifically what we are talking about, let's
define the word "Leader". A
leader is someone who is interactively responsible for a specific group or
institution which has qualified him or her to be in the position of the care
and perpetuation of that group or institution. Developing this definition, we
can see that a leader in their position, must assume an exceptional
responsibility for the institution or group and must exercise care for and a
desire for the perpetuation of that institution or group. A leader must make
responsible decisions that show a genuine care for the well being of the group
or institution. A leader must be authentically concerned for the perpetuation
of what ever entity or group is being led. However, there are situations in
leadership where a leader must know how to discern the termination of its
leadership and/or the group he or she is leading.