Mentor – Do you have one? Do you need one?

August 18, 2013 under Syllabus 2013-2014


Mentor – are they only for new employees? Have you ever wondered if you need a mentor? Or how you would go about getting one? Have you considered having a Board of Directors for you?


· Have you ever wondered how some people seem to have it all together – or anticipate things well? Do you ever wish for a person or persons that you can bounce ideas off, to get advice, or be someone who can listen to you?

· Mentorship is a personal developmental relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person. However, true mentoring is more than just answering occasional questions or providing ad hoc help. It is about an ongoing relationship of learning, dialog, and challenge.

· “Mentoring” is a process that always involves communication and is relationship based, but its precise definition is elusive. One definition of the many that have been proposed, is

· Mentoring is a process for the informal transmission of knowledge, social capital, and the psychosocial support perceived by the recipient as relevant to work, career, or professional development; mentoring entails informal communication, usually face-to-face and during a sustained period of time, between a person who is perceived to have greater relevant knowledge, wisdom, or experience and a person who is perceived to have less. Mentoring in Europe has existed since at least Ancient Greek times. Since the 1970s it has spread in the United States of America mainly in training context and it has been described as “an innovation in American management”.

· Companies have mission statements and a Board of Directors. Your life is pretty important. Why not create a Life Board of Directors to help you through it? Pick 2 to 5 of your friends. Not necessarily your closest friends, but friends that are close enough where you can really confide but not so close that they can’t see the big picture. Email them one a month, once a quarter or “once a crisis.”

· Assemble “Team You” and use your team to brainstorm directions and implementations of big decisions like moving to New York, or changing your business’s direction, starting a new venture, or getting fit.

· Use your personal Board of Directors as one of the compasses in your life. You’ve got family, friends, perhaps faith, hobbies, values, etc. Add your Team to this list of personal compasses.

· In this discussion we encourage individuals who have had experience as a mentor – or if you’ve had a mentor to talk about the benefits you have received from the experience.

· We also want to discuss how to go about getting a mentor or being a mentor for those who are interested.

Some ideas:

Pick the right mentor.

First step is identifying someone who can be a good mentor for you. A mentor should be someone you respect and someone who’s respected by others.

Remember that mentoring can take many forms.

That relationship certainly can take the form of an ongoing one-on-one connection, but you can also have what she calls “mentoring episodes” — briefer interactions where you still learn something valuable.

Ask for advice.

Asking someone to be your mentor is tough. Instead, if there’s someone whose brain you really want to pick, or whom you’d like to develop a closer working relationship with, think of some specific things you want their advice on. Then ask them to get lunch or coffee with you to talk about them.

Set some guidelines beforehand.

When you’re entering into a mentoring relationship with someone, you should have a talk with them — not just about what you want to learn, but about how you want the relationship to go. Talk about confidentiality — will what you say to your mentor stay between the two of you, or will she or he be sharing it with other people? Discuss how you’ll handle any disagreements or problems that might come up. And make an agreement that if at any point the mentoring relationship ends, you’ll make sure to have a “good closure conversation” that allows you both to express appreciation, talk about what you learned, and move on.

Check in frequently.

Schedule regular check-ins to make sure everything in the relationship is going smoothly. Touch base with each other about whether you’re both getting your needs met — are you getting the advice you need? Are you being respectful enough of your mentee’s time?

With personal conversations, let the mentor set the tone.

Especially if you’re friendly with your mentor, you may be tempted to talk about your personal life with him or her, and even to ask advice about personal matters. Depending on your relationship, this could be totally fine — after all, Ragins points out, a mentor can also be a friend. But she advocates that you “let the mentor lead the way with respect to disclosure.”

Keep in touch if you switch jobs.

Remember that even if you leave your job, “no one’s going to make you give your mentor back.” If your mentor was a coworker, you might not see each other or talk as much as you once did. But you can still keep in touch by email and at networking events in your field, and you can still benefit from your mentor’s expertise. Consider than having one mentor at any given time, you should seek out multiple mentors, a “constellation of relationships” that give you the work wisdom you need.

Bible Readings

1. Ephesians – Chapter 6

And parents, never drive your children to resentment but bring them up with correction and advice inspired by the Lord.

Catechism Readings

1. Paragraph 2230

When they become adults, children have the right and duty to choose their profession and state of life. They should assume their new responsibilities within a trusting relationship with their parents, willingly asking and receiving their advice and counsel. Parents should be careful not to exert pressure on their children either in the choice of a profession or in that of a spouse. This necessary restraint does not prevent them—quite the contrary—from giving their children judicious advice, particularly when they are planning to start a family. (1625)

Small Group Questions

1. Is there someone in your small group that has experienced a good mentoring relationship?

2. Can they talk about it?

3. Do you have a mentor?

4. Do you want one?

5. Father’s team members can be great potential mentors? Ask someone !

Recommended Resources

1. Your BOD –

2. Mentor – how to get and maintain –


1. Considering being a mentor or getting one!


Rich DelCore

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