Choosing a Mentor

No perfect fit.

While I’d like to think there was a perfect mentor for everyone in every situation, I’ve come to realize their isn’t.  What I can say, is that there are different mentors that people need throughout their lives that impact them significantly in their own ways.

Type

There are several Types of Mentors which serve their own purposes, for their own related time.

– role model

Role Model’s are a type of mentor that are not necessarily a mentor.  These fall into categories such as those you admire and want to emulate.  You pick up odds and ends from them to replicate on your own.  Mentors in this fashion might be Doug Fields, Josh Griffin, Your Pastor, Some Blogger, etc.

coach

A coach will help you build a skill set for a particular skill.  You go to them for a specific type of mentoring and once you learn that skill you can move on to a different mentor.  (or you keep them as a friend).  This type of mentor is normally contract driven, they help you complete a task and then move on.

therapist

A Therapist or spiritual director is there to help you keep balanced and is more of a sounding off board then someone who will tell you what to do and when do do it.  They can foster action, but normally rely on your self-reflection to help you to move.

– drill sgt

A Drill Sgt. Will be more ordering and authoritarian than the others.  They want what’s best for you (normally) but will be more command oriented and make you snap into place. Not sure the effectiveness of this one, but sometimes people need a swift kick in the pants.

– supervisor

Supervisors are also mentors but they also have power over you at the same time to hold you accountable.  These vary as well from how much time they are willing to invest in you as a person and as a professional.  They might help you when needed or they may just call you into the office to tell you what you need to fix.  Either way, they serve as mentors because they get you in tune with the organization you work for.

Task

Your Task is what you and your mentor set out to do.  With out one of these it’s very hard to contract on what you will be doing.  A good Goal should be Specific, Achievable, Measurable and Obtainable.

Accountability

Your mentor and you need accountability to each other for this to work..  Sometimes this happens by paying the mentor for their time, reinforcing the value of the mentorship.  Other times there may be other sanctions involved, or that the relationship stops.

Time

Some mentorships have an unlimited duration, others have a specific time frame.  Time frames help on task specific mentoring.  Otherwise you keep meeting after the task is completed… you can change your goal, but often time is needed to get this done.  Wasting anyones time is a bad idea.

Where to find?

There are many mentorship programs out there one is Life in Student Ministry’s Mentorship Program other programs you can find online.  Or you can find a mentor in your church or community.  I’d caution about who you used in any case, make sure they are safe, able to deal with you confidentially (esp if you are in a church) and are invested in the relationship to the same extent you are.


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