In a previous post we talked about finding a mentor. We also talked about determining our expectations beforehand as we set about the task of find a mentor. When thinking about the mentoring process, it may be helpful to get some outside insight on the range of possibilities available to you. Paul Stanley and Bobby Clinton co-authored an excellent book “Connecting The Mentoring Relationships You Need to Succeed in Life”.
Clinton and Stanley discuss three broad categories of mentoring. They are, Intensive, Occasional and Passive. Now within each of those are more specific types of mentoring relationships and they break out as follows:
- Discipler – enablement in the basics of following Christ
- Spiritual Guide – accountability, direction, and insight for questions, commitments, and decisions affecting spirituality and maturity
- Coach – motivation, skills and application needed to meet a task, challenge
- Counselor – timely advice and correct perspectives on viewing self, others, circumstances, and ministry
- Teacher – knowledge and understanding of a particular subject
- Sponsor – Career guidance and protection as leader moves within an organization
- Contemporary – a living, personal model for life, ministry, or profession who is not only an example but also inspires emulation
- Historical – a past life that teaches dynamic principles and values for life, ministry, and / or profession
As we look at the three broad categories, their primary differences are in frequency and depth of relationship.
One might think about the intensive in terms of meeting someone every week or every other week, or for a brief season more regularly than that in person or on the phone. These are people who will help you focus your life and your ministry through regular interaction. Because of the demands of life for one or both of you, quite often the intensity of these relationships is for a season in your life. Then they may gradually move into the occasional or even passive mode.
The occasional mentor would be someone who you might see on an “as needed” basis regarding a particular area of your life and / or professional development. This could be a professional counselor such as a marriage counselor. It may be a friend who has workplace related experience and wisdom that would help you. It could also be someone who intersects with your life during a particular crisis because of their journey through a similar crisis.
As the description shows, you will likely not have a personal relationship in the passive environment. This is someone you observe at work, church, or through the media. It may be someone who inspires you because of the attitudes they display after experiencing some life trauma or leadership challenge. You may find a life model
The thing I want to leave you with in this segment is the wide range of possible mentoring relationships. Don’t put yourself or your potential mentor in a box. Leave yourself open to the full range of wisdom relationships. Remember that wisdom is found in those who take advice.