When 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.
First, 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 by a personal example in their lives.
They 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 fact or theories involved in that subject, but 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 the arena of study or practice.
Let's 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 life. 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. The concept of being
a "self-taught person" in any academic discipline or arena of study or practice is somewhat of a half truth in almost 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.
Let 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 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 (piano) every Sunday in our church worship services. Some 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.
This 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 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.
An active mentor is personally acquainted with the mentoree and actively builds the relationship
with intent and 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 issuing 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 positively effective results in
the mentoree's life and development than can the passive mentor, even though both are very viable forms of mentoring relationships.
We must also note that a mentoree may be mentored by an active mentor and several passive mentors at the same time.
Now 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's 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 is lopsided and/or leans more on the side of the mentor instead of
the mentoree, the effect of the relationship is almost always diminished to some extent.
The 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.
Finally, 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.
QUALITIES OF A MENTORING RELATIONSHIP
There are six foundational qualities to an effective and productive mentoring relationship. There
many sub-qualities that branch off of these foundational qualities and potentially connect the relationship together in other
various ways. In looking at the qualities we will in effect define the word mentoring.
Three of these qualities relate directly to the mentor and three of these qualities relate directly
to the mentoree. When we looking at these qualities of the mentor in these relationships we must always understand that we
are discussing the role of an active mentor. Because of the definition and nature of the passive mentor it would be virtually
impossible for the passive mentor to involved in a mentoring relationship holding to these foundational qualities. Let's examine
the first of these foundational qualities relating to the active mentor.
A MENTOR must sacrificially give of themselves.
When the mentor is giving of themselves sacrificially in a mentoring relationship, it means that the mentor is investing
themselves in the life of the mentoree in a way that goes beyond the level of a typical relationship.
This means that extra time, extra effort and extra care are personally extended to the mentoree by the mentor. Ideally, the
mentor must be genuinely willing to give of him or herself to the betterment of the mentoree regardless of the personal cost.
2). A MENTOR should not place time
restraints form completion of the mentoring process.
simply means that the mentor should have obtainable goals to reach with the mentoree without demanding an ultimate deadline
for those goals to be reached or completed. It does not mean there shouldn't be any goals or obtainable deadlines. But the
mentor should not mandate completion or deadlines based on his or her own expectations.
3). A MENTOR should desire to see the
mentoree be better than their own abilities.
real mentor desires to produce a better "product" than he or she actually is. This means that the after the mentor invests
himself or herself into the mentoree, that the end result after an undetermined period of time will be a better or improved
version of the original mentor. Under proper mentorship there should be generational improvement.
Now let's look at the qualities of a mentoring relationship that should surround the mentoree.
These are just as important as those we have just examined that surround the mentor's contribution to the relationship.
1). A MENTOREE should respect the Mentor.
type of respect is primarily focused on the value of the mentor's history. The mentoree must value how the mentor has obtained
the skills and abilities that are being taught and exemplified. The mentor's volume of experience in the discipline is also
part of this respect factor. It also generally assists the relationship if there is a personal connection based on the characteristics
and traits of the mentor that the mentoree values and appreciates.
2). A MENTOREE must be teachable.
simple rule here is that one cannot be instructed or taught in a discipline or arena of study or practice that they have no
desire to be taught. There is no such thing as a "forced mentoree". This goes back to the issue of the desire of the mentoree
to learn and grow as they are being mentored by the mentor.
3). A MENTOREE must apply the learning experience to personal practice
simply, the mentoree can learn and learn, but unless what is learned is practically applied in the life and world of the mentoree
by the mentoree it can all be tallied as a journey in futility. The whole purpose of establishing a mentoring relationship
between to individuals is for the mentoree to be a productive asset to the particular discipline and/or skill.
There are several Biblical examples of mentoring that are illustrated for us. Some have stronger
mentors than mentorees, and in some cases, the mentorees tend to be the more dynamic personalities than the mentors. The following
Biblical relationships are some of the examples of these illustrations. As we look at the texts surrounding these Biblical
personalities, we will find that their techniques and relationship qualities vary in many ways. But the end result is still
to reproduce their abilities and skills in the people they are mentoring.
Joshua the son of Nun, the attendant of Moses from his youth, answered and said, "Moses, my lord, restrain them."
the boy Samuel was ministering to the LORD before Eli. And word from the LORD was rare in those days, visions were infrequent.
he departed from there and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, while he was plowing with twelve pairs of oxen before him, and
he with the twelfth. And Elijah passed over to him and threw his mantle on him.And he left the oxen and ran after Elijah and
said, "Please let me kiss my father and my mother, then I will follow you." And he said to him, "Go back again, for what have
I done to you?"
and the Apostles
having summoned His twelve disciples, He gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.
Timothy 1:2 &
Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. O Timothy, guard
what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called "knowledge"
THE MENTORING PROCESS
I’m doing iton my own
process starts by someone displaying their talents, skills and/or abilities in a natural environment which is easily observed
by a variety of people. The potential mentoree is drawn tot the mentor or possibly just to the mentor’s presentation
of skills or abilities.
Watch me do it
this point the connection of relationship is established between the active mentor and the mentoree. The mentor is aware that
the mentoree is watching the obvious processes that will eventually develop the mentoree.
This may or may not be after an obvious invitation to do so.
Assist me in doing it.
this stage of the mentoring relationship, The mentoree becomes a “hands on” assistant to the active mentor in
the desired activities. There is generally a noticeable amount of verbal instruction also accompanying this stage of the development.
Let's do it together.
stage is much like the previously describe stage, only with less instructive qualities and more emphasis placed on teamwork
and partnering together in accomplishing the final results. The mentoree should be a very definable part of the activity or
process on which the mentoring relationship is instituted.
I'll assist you in doing it.
mentor and the mentoree now reverse participatory roles from the third stage we previously discussed. The mentoree should
be displaying more dynamic skills in leading the process or situation and relying less on the active mentor’s guidance
I'll watch you do it.
this point the mentoree should be capable of accomplishing the task without the assistance or advice of the mentor, even thought
the mentor is present and observing. This is the time when the mentor can affirm the accomplishment and development of the
mentoree in the desired skill set.
You’re doing it on your own.
is the final stage of the mentoring process where the mentor is no longer present in the situation and circumstances and the
mentoree is now able and accomplishing the desired results in a competent and recognizable way.
RESULTS OF MENTORING
whole concept of mentoring should be to expect a better result than just the skills originally displayed by the mentor. This
is because the mentoree has some natural ability or related experience previous to the encounter with the mentor which can
contribute to the mentoree’s personal growth and development. Thus, each succeeding generation in a mentoring process
should become better, more advanced and capable than the previous
This concept seems to border on “idealism”, but in many situations and processes
it is obviously true. However, it is important to realize that it takes diligent work on behalf of both the mentor and the
mentoree to see these improved results and development with each succeeding generations. When the mentoring process is weakened
or fragmented in some way, the results will vary greatly. Anyone involved in these relationships should be aware that not
all mentoring relationships are effective or completed relationships and thus.
When the mentoring relationship is completed and has yielded positive results, the mentoree should
now become a mentor. This perpetuates the abilities of leadership to be positioned correctly and to continue and carry on
the desired results and intentions. Mentorees who have been successfully and properly mentored generally have a natural appreciation
for the mentoring process and relationship and usually are capable and enthusiastic about perpetuating it if they are properly
Example for other Mentors
properly motivated leader and an enthusiastic and active mentor is an example for other mentors to appreciate, observe and
follow. Everyone can recognize genuine enthusiasm. Genuine enthusiasm is a natural catalyst for growth and development. So
the natural result of successful mentoring would be for other mentors to have an impact on each other.
Read the text on this page, taking notes as you study.
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