Friday, November 27, 2009

Simple Mentoring

I was recently talking with a 20-something about mentoring a teenage. It occurred to me that mentoring is an easy thing to over-complicate. So I put a few things together to provide him some traction, yet not overwhelm:

Mentoring Keys:

Mentoring is intentional influence. The key to influence = "time spent."

Social networking (text, FaceBook) can aid in mentoring but it can't replace being with the person. It starts here; can't mentor without it.

Our best never comes from us; it comes from God. If you want to mentor someone, pray for them.

By the way, we'll never be Godly influences on anyone without doggedly praying fro them and asking God to guide us. If you want to be an influence and useful in the KIngdom of God, keep a prayer journal and pray through it with great regularity.

Prayer also helps us realize that mentoring is asking God to use us in helping this person be who God designed them to be. The essence of mentoring is sanctification, which is spiritual--it is what God does.

Mentoring Prayers:
1) Surrender yourself to God's will.
2) Confess your sins.
3)Pray specifically for the person.
4) Pray for openness to how God wants to use you.
5) Ask God for clear direction for His will for this person; ask Him to use you to His glory, not your success.

Be mindful of the Holy Spirit when you're with the person. Not that every second is a teachable moment; but you want to be ready and alert to promptings of God.

Be ready to turn conversations towards things of substance. Few people say, "Teach and pull me into challenging conversations." But everyone wants to grow in Christ and grow beyond themselves. Be ready to turn light-hearted conversations towards things that matter to them, you and God.

Be a Learner.
If you are not actively growing and maturing in Christ, it wil be increasingly difficult to influence someone else in that way. Your growth is your responsibility. It will require that you have a mentor, but the onus is on you. Learning, growing people almost always have something to say that's worth hearing.

Your ears can be your greatest leadership tool. Listening communicates caring in huge ways. Listening first and at length; being slow to speak is evidence of wisdom.

Also listen with more than your ears. Watch their eyes and body language. Most of us are not clearly saying the words that reflect the deepest parts of us--but God designed the soul to leak hints through our body language. "Listen" for what's not being said but is being communicated nonetheless.

When responding to "vibe" or body language, state simple observations: "You seem..." Or, "Are you feeling...?"

Keep it simple, stay humble and see what God can do.