I didn’t really want to include this post in my series on mentoring. I told Ben I couldn’t write it, because I don’t really know the answer to that question.
And Ben said something like, “Good. You have a week to figure it out.”
Well, I don’t have it figured out. I’m not sure that it’s completely possible to figure it out.
See, mentoring is a relationship. Every relationship is different, and is constantly changing and growing. And a mentoring relationship should be specifically about changing and growing.
So what you talk about will always be changing.
That being said, I think (and have read) that the most important thing in a mentoring relationship is asking questions.
The mentor’s job is to ask questions. And then ask more questions. Pray hard, listen hard, and find little clues as to what areas might need some extra thought and consideration, and then ask even more questions.
But it’s not all up to the mentor. The person being mentored should also be asking questions. The relationship is there so that the younger one can gain wisdom from the older one.
So ask questions.
When my mentor and I are arranging a time to talk, she has sometimes told me, “Write down any questions you might have.”
I find that hard. But usually, if I pray about it, and keep a list nearby over the next few days, I’m surprised by the thoughts that come to mind.
Really, I think that all of us should continually be asking God questions like, “What do I need to learn? What do you want to show me? What area of my life needs to change? Is there anything that’s holding me back from growing closer to You?”
As we ask Him those questions, I think it’s very helpful to have someone come alongside us who can share what they experienced when they asked those same questions.
And then you talk about anything and everything. You pray like crazy, and you allow God to lead you to places that you would never have thought of going on your own. Or with someone else.
You live life in a very real, deep, and vulnerable way together, and you talk about all of it.
For more information: I’m reading Mentoring: The Promise of Relational Leadership, by Walter Wright, in my efforts to learn more about mentoring. And I’ve got my eye on Mentor: How Along-the-Way Discipleship Will Change Your Life, by Chuck Lawless. Doesn’t that sound good?
Now you know what to get me for Christmas.
Part 5: What Do We Talk About Now?