Recently, a student asked me to serve as a mentor. In preparing for our time together he asked me some questions. I thought the questions provided a good opportunity to reflect. Perhaps it might even be helpful to someone else.
Here are the questions and my responses.
Who initiated the mentoring relationship-the Mentor or the protégé?
The protégé initiated the relationship.
When and where do you meet?
We met for our mentoring time over a period of three months, from June to August 2014, at the Starbucks Café.
How is the time spent?
The mentoring time was informal, but intentional. Our agenda included:
- Welcoming time with informal dialogue. My desire is to assess the protégé’s present state of mind, emotions, and general health.
- Confidential reflections on past, present, and future ministries. I ask questions to discern, diagnose, and treat with pastoral care and counseling, if necessary.
- Confidential spiritual direction, including inquiry concerning spiritual progress.
- Confidential reflections by myself on my observations of the session.
- Prayer for the protégé.
- Closing and departing.
What is the most difficult aspect of the relationship?
The most difficult aspect of the relationship is scheduling time for the meeting on a regular basis. While not necessarily a part of this relationship I would say that expectations arise in the relationship that I am unable to meet (expectations that were not pronounced in the planning and agreement time). This creates tension and can impede progress in reaching the goals of the mentoring time.
What is the most significant result of the relationship?
The most significant result of the relationship has been my own growth in grace as I have listened to the activity of the Lord in this man’s life and ministry.
Describe the top 3 lessons on mentoring you’ve learned and how they impact your implementation of mentoring.
The top three lessons in mentoring that I have learned include:
- Agreeing to a plan before the sessions begin is a critical step in success.
- Creating a mentoring schedule that is neither overly ambitious nor ineffectively minimal.
- Listening at all times is more important than even speaking at appropriate times.
I consider mentoring time with another to be among the most spiritually productive things that I can do other than pray. Yet, like prayer, it is often neglected for lesser things that I have made priorities. I don’t want to continue this. I want to major in mentoring.