What is a mentor?
Perhaps a better question is: Who is Mentor?
The word “Mentor” actually comes from the Greek language and is derived from a character found in Homer’s Odyssey named Mentor. In Homer’s Odyssey, Mentor was a close and trusted friend of Odysseus who stayed behind in Ithaca to watch over Odysseus’s son; Telemachus. In the epic, Mentor prepares young Telemachus to take responsibility for the family while Odysseus was away fighting in the Trojan war.
To mentor someone, put simply, means to guide them. Most young leaders I have spent time with over the years have, at least at some point, stated an interest in having a mentor. The problem lies, not in a lack of desire to be mentored, but in a lack of effort and intentionality when pursuing and cultivating mentor-relationships.
It takes work to be mentored.
With that said, few things will bear as much fruit in your life and leadership as healthy, God-honoring mentorships.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when pursuing a mentor.
- Be Selective: Look for someone whose life you would want to pattern yourself after. This will mean, typically, you will want to select a mentor who is older than you and no longer in the season of life you are about to step into.
- Be Flexible: There is a very good chance that people you will pursue and ask to mentor you will be very busy people. Be willing to work around their schedule when possible. Meet when they can meet.
- Be Clear about Expectations: Be clear about your desire to be mentored and ask upfront on how often you would expect to meet with your mentor. Cite specific areas that you are looking to grow in with your mentor. This helps them tremendously.
- Be Prepared: Come with an agenda when you meet with your mentor. Remember: Their time is precious. Come with an objective for each meeting and have questions you want to ask. Spend 15-20 min before each meeting with your mentor thinking through these questions.
- Be On-time: Again, respect your mentor’s time.
Implement these mindsets and watch God grow you through your mentor realtionships.