Tuesday, September 15, 2009

How to be Mentored

There is a lot of information out there about how to be a good mentor-- how to train, coach, lead, disciple, guide others into growth. But there's not much to be found on how to be mentored. The characteristics of a good mentee. I would argue that learning to be a good follower is just as important as learning to be a good leader/mentor.

Here are a few thoughts I shared with the Proteges during our huddle this afternoon.

1. Take initiative. Be proactive in looking for projects and relationships that will be beneficial to you. Projects give you opportunities to invest your gifts. Relationships give you opportunities to develop and grow your gifts. Don't wait for someone to teach you; take the initiative to learn from them.

2. Assume a learning posture. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "I have never met a man that was not my superior in some particular." In other words, each person we meet has the potential to teach us something. Make learning your passion and look for the lesson in every situation. Approach every situation as an opportunity to learn.

3. Cross-pollinate. Diversify. Learn from other areas. When people ask me how to develop their preaching gift, I tell them to take an acting class. Engineering taught me more about discipleship processes than a Bible class. Explore a diversity of interests and look for the connection points and the metaphors.

4. Choose your attitude. There is one thing a boss, leader, or discipler cannot do for you, and that's choose your attitude.

5. Know the importance of timing. Be sensitive to the calendar of your leader. Sometimes, it's best just to schedule an appointment so that they will be fully present mentally and emotionally when you need to talk to them about things. Look for the right opportunities to have difficult or long conversations.

6. Be a team player. You learn best by being a part of a team and recognizing that then name on the front of your jersey is more important than the name of the back of the jersey.

7. Add value. The best way to learn from someone you really respect is to add value to what they are already doing. Instead of adding an appointment to their calendar, look for ways to add value to their ministry (or job). If you want to hang out with your pastor, don't add to his schedule; find ways to get involved in what he's already doing-- a small group, a missions trip, an outreach. Find ways to advance the dreams of your leaders and they will find ways to advance your dreams.

8. Take good notes. Have you ever wondered why we have the books of 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus in our Bibles? Those were personal letters written to specific individuals. Evidently, the found the content valuable enough to keep and pass on. The shortest pencil is longer than the longest memory. Write stuff down. When we write stuff down, we see more and learn more. More about that here.

9. Ask great questions. Develop a couple questions that you keep in your back pocket and ask everyone you encounter. What books have been most transformational in your life? How do you grow in your faith? What is one leadership lesson you would pass on to the next generation?

10. Set specific goals. Make a list of 5 things you would like to learn and/or experience this year. This one was specifically for our Proteges, but it gets at the larger issue of goal setting. I've had so many meetings and conversations with people who were convinced they wanted a mentor, but they had absolutely no idea what they wanted a mentor to do for them or teach them. Having a set of goals is a starting point. It will help you find the right mentors for the right things and will bring definition, purpose, clarity, and intentionality to the process.

Any other thoughts or ideas out there about how to be mentored?


At 8:02 AM, Blogger Mark Batterson said...

These are so good Heather! Thanks for the reminder.

At 6:58 AM, Anonymous Tom Houser said...

Good reminder...thanks for addressing the 'other side' of the mentoring equation!

At 3:42 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

This is GREAT. Thank you for posting this a year ago. And thank you for (re)tweeting it today for those of us who missed it!


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