Written by Shannon Reese
Do you want a mentor or do you want to be mentored?
Just about every woman I’ve talked with wants a mentor. But when I begin to ask more questions about what she is looking for in a mentor, she often describes someone who will see her, know her, and pour their life into her. Rarely do I hear what this woman wants to learn and what she is willing to do with the teaching that is offered.
What makes being mentored different than simply having a mentor?
Mentorship, by definition, is a relationship between two people: a learner and a teacher.
In order to be mentored, the learner has to position herself to learn (Proverbs 1:5). She has to admit that there is something she doesn’t know. She has to find the person who knows what she wants to learn and put herself under that person’s teaching (Titus 2:3-4). Finally, the learner has to apply the principles learned from her mentor (Philippians 4:8, 9).
Although Scripture doesn’t use the word mentor, God’s Word speaks to the practice of submitting oneself to another, learning from one another and practicing what we have learned.
I don’t know about you, but being mentored sounds like a lot more work than having a mentor!
In different seasons, I have recognized unique lessons I needed to learn and sought out women who could teach me.
- When our boys were little, I asked an older well-rested mom to teach me how to help us all sleep through the night.
- When my husband was working full time and getting his MBA, and I was home raising toddlers, I asked an older woman who had been married for decades to teach me how to strengthen and support my husband in a season that was difficult for us both.
- When I sensed God’s call on my life to begin teaching the Bible, I registered to attend a conference that taught teaching methods to Bible teachers.
- When I was pastoring women thrice my age, I spent time with some older women in my church so I could listen and learn about the challenges faced by those in stages I had yet to experience.
Looking back, I was being mentored through each of these seasons. While these mentoring relationships remained casual and a bit undefined, I was still being mentored.
So, what about you? Are you ready to position yourself as a learner who can apply new knowledge to your life and leadership? Are you ready to be mentored?
If you want to be mentored, consider these questions:
- What do you want/need to learn? What you need to learn may be personal or professional. It might have to do with a skill that is needed to be a better leader or it might be a character trait that needs focused attention.
- Who is a person that has mastered or is modeling what you need to learn? Who is a person willing to teach you what they already know?
- How can you apply the principles you’re learning from your mentor to your present circumstances? How can you circle back with your mentor to communicate how these principles are being applied?
If you’ve been mentored, I’d love to hear about your experience!
Leave a reply in the comment box below and share how that mentoring relationship impacted your life. We can all learn from each other as we are mentored and mentor others.