Mentoring Strategies 11-15
Generously giving of time and resources:
Mentorship requires time and energy. With a limited amount of both in our everyday lives, mentoring requires us to prioritize time with our apprentice over something else we deem less important. Or, if we refuse to sacrifice a specific activity, we must invite our apprentice into our family group to share the important things and people in our life. This could mean inviting your apprentice to play video games with you and your kids or to share a meal after church. But it could also mean your family freely gives you a weekend to go camping with your apprentice so that you can have some focused time of discipleship.
Recommending and discussing books:
I’ve got a pretty big library in my office. Mentors of mine recommended many of those books. This is a simple task but is guaranteed to take your conversation to a deeper place. It’s a simple process to choose a book, decide a frequency of reading and meeting, and then debrief after every chapter and share journal notes and questions. I have always found this to be one of the most enjoyable mentoring strategies, and you can direct the topic easily by choosing a book that you think helps meet a need of your apprentice.
I remember this being the most impactful for me in times of conflict. Seeing my mentors restrain themselves and be mature in difficult circumstances has helped me to learn to hold my tongue. Another good example is modeling maturity in marital relationships, or when fielding questions about hard teachings or passages of scripture. This works mostly by providing a contrast between an immature and mature response. When I do it my way…it ends like this. But when my mentor responds differently…it seems to end in a Christ-honoring way. This is usually most effective if you can debrief afterward. This strategy especially helps impulsive apprentices learn self-control and discernment.
Several of my mentors have also been my professors. Addressing the hard topics and asking the real questions in a classroom context is a sure-fire way to have a more profound impact on your students and take things to the next level. Another one is sharing your experiences and stories (including non-flattering ones) that will illustrate that you have lived what you are teaching.
Another favorite of mine, build a challenging scenario out of real-life experiences and roll it out to your apprentice. Let them come up with a solution, assist them as they think about every possible angle, and help them anticipate the backlash of their choices. This will train them for big picture thinking and help them to develop a knack for strategic thinking.