david j. pedde

Relational Mentoring (with Bonus: Effective Mentors do at least these 6 things)

RELATIONAL MENTORING 

(BONUS: EFFECTIVE MENTORS do at least these 6 things)

A few years ago, I began a search for a book I could have our Sanctus peer-mentors read in preparation for their role in journeying with our first year students in close relationship. 

Bottom line - I could not find one. Here’s why:

Every book I read had the same basic premise. The writer was a successful leader in their field of work or ministry. In their later years they felt compelled to “give back” so they handpicked some younger leaders and donated their valuable time to them, expounding on methodology that worked for them and teaching their followers to do the same. Admirable. And it looks appealing at first glance. The experienced helping the inexperienced. The older helping the younger.

While I understood and appreciated each author’s intent, there was something I felt to be so understated in every book. 

No one highlighted or even mentioned something I consider vitally fundamental to the equation: relationship. Two-way relationship. Not top down. Not “I know (and you don’t), so follow me, do what I did, and you’ll succeed like I did.” 

Rather, relationship. Side by side. Learning and growing together. 

Are the mentor and mentee at different stages? Of course. But can they both learn and grow? It’s obvious. Can they do so more effectively together in relationship? I think so! Each one the richer and wiser because of their relationship with the other. In my estimation, this is the hallmark of effective mentoring: relationship. I get to know you. You get to know me. Let’s go.

 

In the spirit of side-by-side relational mentoring, here are a few “does” and “does nots” I have been pondering.

Does and Does Not List.

. An effective mentor does share personal experiences but does not assume that the mentee’s experiences have been or will be the same as theirs.

. An effective mentor does listen empathetically but does not fail to challenge the mentee’s thinking or actions.

. An effective mentor does offer suggestions on strategies or methods to test out but does not tell the mentee what to do.

. An effective mentor does share regarding personal weakness and struggle but does not monopolize the attention on themselves.

. An effective mentor does ask penetrating questions but does not guilt or shame the mentee to action.

. An effective mentor does teach but does not take the credit when the mentee learns and succeeds.

 

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