I’v been a professional coach for 18 years; I love it. I Love the men I’ve been able to coach all these years, I love the opportunity to impact local churches by coaching it’s leaders. I cannot emphasize enough the value of having godly men walking with you as I have for 64 years, If you’d be interested in considering having me as your coach as you begin a new year, please reach out to me–firstname.lastname@example.org.
David Fairchild whom I’ve know for many years posted some very helpful ideas on finding and keeping mentors/coaches for the long haul.There is much to learn from his journey on getting the most from them.
He uses the word Mentor, I use the word coach. I think both words are describing the same idea.
Guest post by David Fairchild, Director for Acts 29 for the state of Texas. Find this article on Face Book.
1. Seek them out. Don’t wait until someone asks to mentor you. Most who desire to mentor won’t initiate because they don’t want to assume you want mentoring.
2. Find more than one. In my 2nd and 3rd year of planting I sought out three mentors who have played a pivotal role in my life & ministry, but each had specific ways they were beneficial. One helped me see the gospel as a power for my own personal renewal. One helped me lead our church in missional practices. One helped develop me theologically.
3. Take their advice. There’s nothing more unnerving than mentoring someone who never follows your counsel. If you’re going to ask for wisdom or advice, give what they offer a serious hearing. If not, they’ll stop mentoring you because you only want to follow your own instincts. Clearly I’m not suggesting mentors are infallible. And of course you need to ensure their advice is biblical. But there’s a reason you’re seeking their experience & advice.
4. Be specific about what you need when you meet. Don’t put the pressure on them to randomly pick things they want to talk about. Come ready to discuss 2-3 things that you need perspective on. Ask follow up questions. Take notes. Also, be clear in your mind what it is that you want. Is it a knowledge need, heart need, or practical example?
5. Don’t cancel scheduled meetings. I can’t tell you how many guys have wanted to be mentored only to continuously cancel the meeting. Eventually I have to say, “I’m happy to meet, but I think it best for you to let me know when you’re able.” When someone schedules time out of their day, they’re choosing to clear that block of time that could have been spent with someone who showed up.
6. Share how their counsel or advice helped you. There’s nothing more encouraging to a mentor than to know they’re making a difference. Be sure to follow up from your last meeting & share how you implemented their wisdom. Also share what didn’t work so they can help make adjustments in their counsel.
7. Don’t use them. Most mentors feel used. A younger mentee will spend 2-3 years being mentored, then when the mentee feels they have enough, they drop their mentor and move on. I’ve found it’s only after those 2-3 years when the real mentoring happens. The surface stuff is easy, the deep heart work & character counsel takes time to for the mentor to see.
8. Be the one to initiate meetings. Don’t expect them to chase you down for a follow up. And don’t be frustrated if they’re not the ones pursuing you. Remember, you’re coming to them for advice. So pursue them. My three mentors (2 of which are still alive & still my mentors) may never have been my mentors had I not pursued & kept pursuing. I pursued them & still initiate to receive wisdom.
9. Ask how you can help them. Most mentors don’t want to ask for help because they don’t want to burden you. Every now & then ask how you can serve them. This is one great way to move the relationship from mentoring to friendship.
10. Read what they read. If they’re worth being mentored by, try to read what they read. Have them give a list of books & resources that they find indispensable. Often times you’ll learn a great deal about your mentor by reading what has most impacted them. This also helps you understand where they’re coming from.
I’m not sure what I would have done without my mentors over these last 20 years. They’re love, support, wisdom, & care has proven utterly indispensable. They’ve kept me from making really bad decisions, and when I’ve made bad decisions, have helped me clean up the mess I’ve made. Mentors are a gift. Pray for the Lord to put a couple on your heart, then go get them!