Thoughts about Mentoring

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The other day I asked some friends what they would be interested in reading about on my blog. One of the ideas that seemed to get the most traction was mentoring.

When thinking about the idea of mentoring, a few questions come immediately to mind:

What does it mean to mentor?

How were (and/or are) you mentored?

Do you mentor? 

My wife Allison and I with our friend, mentor, and my Thesis Adviser, Rev. Dr. Mary Sue Dreier
Just one of my many wonderful and amazing mentors.  Seen here is my friend, mentor, and thesis adviser Rev. Dr. Mary Sue Dreier,  with my wife Allison and I.

I have been blessed and continue to be blessed with mentors, cheerleaders, advisers, and champions in all areas of life. These are obvious when thinking of school and educational experiences, but also in congregational settings, job and vocational opportunities, family, and even among friends and colleagues.

I am not sure that I am currently serving as a mentor to anyone, or if anyone would consider me a mentor to them. But I am definitely continuing to be mentored by wonderful people from a host of perspectives and experiences. To me, mentoring is a part of life, vocation, and leadership. There is an element of stewardship and legacy building, but generally its out of a desire to help, equip, and empower others to develop their own gifts, passions, and strengths to be who they are and to grow most fully into that. By being in a relationship though, perhaps mentoring is something that is multi-directional? Meaning that its not only a mentor who provides mentoring, but perhaps those being mentored either provide a relationship and mentoring in return or they “pay it forward” so to speak. Perhaps both?

In thinking about this some more, I think I am barely scratching the surface of what mentoring is, what it could be, and what are some of the good and potentially not so good things related to it. Because of this, I think it would be amazing if I turn the topic of mentoring into a sort of shared blog experience. By this, I mean a conversation with you and many other leaders, writers, and thinkers about this topic. My plan is to invite people I consider a mentor to me to share their thoughts, and then I will share them with you as guest posts here on the blog. However, I am not closing off these guest posts to just whom I might list immediately as a mentor. If you have important thoughts on this topic, I would love to hear them and perhaps include them here in a future post or two, if you would be willing to share.

Some potential questions about mentoring that come to mind which might be addressed in upcoming posts include:

  • Who were some of your mentors?
    • How did they mentor you? What did they mentor you about? Why did they mentor you?
    • What did you learn through that mentorship?
    • How did you grow as a result of that mentoring?
  • How did being mentored at some point in your life shape you into mentoring yourself?
  • How do you mentor today?
  • Why do you mentor today?
  • How does mentoring connect with your understanding of vocation?
    • Would you consider mentoring part of your “ministry” or “calling”?
  • How are leadership and mentoring connected and related?
  • What comes to mind when you think about mentoring?

Obviously, not all of these questions or thought-starters will likely be considered.  But I think that by asking these sorts of questions we will begin to really unpack the potential and our collective insights around mentoring.

What do you think? Is this a good and exciting idea? Do you have an interest in sharing your perspectives as a sort of guest post on the topic?  I am looking forward to the conversation and I hope you are too!

3 comments on “Thoughts about Mentoring”

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