But, for how long?
- As mentors we must see ourselves as a friend and a guide.
- I believe we are to give support and opportunities that the men-tees may lack.
- We must focus our involvement on developing a reliable, trusting relationship. Then, as the relationship grows stronger, we may be able to expand our efforts.
- We must involve men-tees in the decision-making process of their choice of activities, giving them a “voice and choice.”
- Focus on building the relationship, not on fixing or changing the men-tee.
- Do fun things together that naturally offer “teachable moments” as you model Christ-like attitudes and values.
- Listen more, direct less. Ask questions that help your men-tee think things through, draw conclusions, and come up with their own solutions to problems.
- Deliver feedback in a constructive way and with genuine care.
At times it might be proper for a mentor to be prescriptive if the men-tee is about to make a critical mistake. But for the most part, effective mentors listen first, ask questions second, and tell third. Telling people what to do causes them to become more dependent, while helping them find solutions for themselves fosters independence.
Remember the example of Jesus, who influenced His disciples through His life as well as through His words. It was not Jesus who initiated teaching His disciples to pray. They came to Him because the power of prayer they saw in His life revealed the deficiencies in their lives. He didn’t have to point out their need to change. Just being around Jesus increased their want to change.