Mentoring and coaching are powerful ways to achieve transformation in life. Some people seek a mentor or coach when they feel desperate or are struggling. Others recognise the value in having a person with whom they can share with in confidence and have a space to work out what to do in a situation.
A definition of mentoring – what is it?
In short: mentoring is an intentional relationship in which one person, the mentor, enables another person, the mentee, to maximise their potential – and in Christian mentoring, to notice and maximise the grace of God at work in their lives. This definition is taken from the work of Mallison and is recognised as an inclusive definition. The mentoring relationship can be informal or formal, (or anything in between!) and people meet their mentors and coaches in a variety of settings, from a quiet place, to activity-based sessions.
Let’s look at the definition in a bit more detail.
Mentoring is intentional. To be mentored is to intentionally set aside time for conversations of reflection and challenge. Mentees guide the conversation by bringing their own thoughts, experiences, joys, and challenges to talk about, whether this in relation to a specific area of ministry or life, or just about life in general. Mentors likewise guide the conversation by listening, asking questions, and providing opportunities and ideas for reflection and discussion.
Mentoring is a relationship. Mentoring conversations happen in the context of a relationship founded on trust and honesty. Mentors listen without judgment; mentees are given the open space to bring their whole, authentic selves to the discussion. Relationship provides a safe space of acceptance in which fruitful conversations can happen.
Mentors enable their mentees. Through challenge, questions, and conversation, mentors enable their mentees to listen to God and notice what he is doing in their lives and ministries. Mentoring allows mentees to be encouraged in this, and gives them a space of reflection within which to set goals about how they can grow even more.
Christian mentoring centres on the grace of God. God’s grace surrounds all that we do and are as Christians. Christian mentoring releases us to see, live, and work in that grace, giving us the knowledge that it is not by our effort or strength but by the grace and love of God that we are who we are, in every aspect of our work and lives.
What kind of Christian?
It is acknowledged that there are many forms of Christian expression. It is anticipated that mentors and coaches will be welcoming to people of all faiths. If a mentor or coach has personal boundaries they will communicate this with the relevant enquirer.
Explore the rest of The Mentor Network site to find out more, and connect with a mentor if mentoring sounds like it might be for you.