I heard the story of someone who rolled up to the coffee shop drive-thru window only to discover their coffee had been paid for by the generous person who had been in line in front of them. The amount given well exceeded the cost of their coffee. The employee asked this lucky recipient what he would like to do with the significant amount of change he would receive. If it were you, what would you choose? Would you go ahead and order a couple of sandwiches and desserts as well? Would you take the change and put it in your pocket for lunch, after all it was meant for you, right? Or would you tell the employee to pass on the gift to the persons waiting in the car behind you?
We have been given countless gifts from God, including a treasure chest of life experiences comprised of failures and joys, lessons learned and wisdom gleaned. Just like the money at the drive-thru, these life lessons aren’t meant to be hoarded but shared and passed on to those coming behind us. We’ve been called to be multipliers and whether at work, at home or in community, one of the most impactful ways we can do that is through one-on-one life mentoring. The following serve as helpful guides to fostering a mentoring mindset:
- Relationship: The foundation of mentoring is authentic and based on relationship. In order for us to add value to people we have to value people. We need to see beyond teaching a skill set to developing the person. When you value relationship, the potential for organic mentoring relationships are going to be right under our nose. More than ever, younger people are desiring coaching and collaboration, someone to walk alongside and show them practically how it’s done.
- Roots: In our growth process it’s necessary to get and stay rooted; rooted in our identity in Christ, in security, in self-awareness. Because quite honestly, we lead and live from who we are. What’s inside will come out and impact everybody else around us. So is what’s inside healthy? Our roots determine the fruit. We can’t change the fruit without first changing the root. So help others discover and develop their roots as well. Help them grow in and understand more their faith, character, core values, strengths, personality, insecurities and blind spots.
- Roadmap: We all need vision for the mission. Roadmaps provide perspective for the big picture. Maps show us where we are, the roads to take and those to avoid. Most importantly when you mentor, lead people back to Christ and the Word. Also, keep these questions in mind. What do they want to know? (Be a safe place where they can ask.) What do they need to know? (Share what has God taught you that will help them.) And where do they want to go? (Help them get there.)
- Release: Make room for others. Give them opportunity, continue to pour into, encourage and develop them with the goal to watch them launch and thrive. And if that isn’t at your business or in your home or within your circles, that’s ok. Be more passionate about the person than you are the position.
As parents, leaders, and people are we intentional and available to those around us? Are we making room for relationship with our spouse, our family, our teams, and others who may be walking on the journey where we once were? Because more is caught than taught, faith in Christ is not something that we just want to talk about on a Sunday morning, it’s something we want to live and demonstrate. What does faith in Christ look like at work when adversity hits, when we have to make the hard decision, when there is conflict in the family? It’s through authentic relationship and mentoring that we can share our faith. 1 Thessalonians 2:8 sums it up well, “Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.”