Top Tips for Mentors
Mentoring is very rewarding and can lead to significant growth for the mentee. There are many different ways to mentor someone. Here are some general guidelines to help. For further help consider joining a cluster group [here] or contact us through facebook [here] or Twitter [here]
Practical top tips for your mentoring
- Have a written agreement for your work together, it can be simple, but it is good to clarify practicalities and expectations for both at the beginning. Download a sample mentor contract [here]
- Talk about money at the start – not half way through. If you are going to charge be clear about it, don’t get embarrassed or awkward.
- Ask mentees to email 24 hours before the appointment with an agenda, it gives you time to think and them time to prepare – it stops the last minute think about what to say.
- Ask mentees to summarise the conversation at the end and any ‘take aways’.
- Build in regular check ins more frequent at first to consider how you are working together, what is helpful and allow time to address any problems.
- Be clear for yourself about what you won’t cover in the mentoring relationship and what therefore needs to be referred elsewhere.
- Having clear guidelines and boundaries helps to build trust in the relationship. Do not be late and finish on time.
- Make sure you have access to your own support/ consultation/ mentoring to support you in this work.
Know your ‘why’
One regularly used definition of mentoring, adapted from Mallison is ‘a dynamic, intentional voluntary relationship of trust in which one person (the mentor) enables another person (the mentee) to maximise the grace of God within their lives and develop their potential in the service of God’s kingdom purposes.’
Know your personal Christian distinctives. What kinds of issues are non-negotiable for you? What kinds of issues would you not mentor (for whatever reason)? Be clear to signpost a mentee to another mentor or why you need to end a relationship (that it is your issue not theirs).
Know your limits. Christian mentoring is allied to but not the same as discipling, pastoral care, spiritual direction and counselling. Each mentor is able to offer their skills set as part of mentoring. Know your own areas of expertise and again signpost on an aspect of the relationship when issues will take you outside of your limits.
Know how you want to be a mentor. There are growing numbers of mentoring courses in the UK, both Christian and non-Christian. See some of them [here]. There are many helpful skills and tools that can be learnt in this growing area, including accreditation and academic qualifications. It is still acceptable to be an informal mentor with no official qualifications.
Keep a copy of the values and ethical framework of The Mentor Network and review them regularly.