Most of what you have been told about mentorship might not be correct. In fact, you must have been mentoring the wrong way. While growing up as kids, we used to believe a mentor needs to be someone famous, whom we can emulate his or her character and wish to one day be exactly like the person. This blog post is to help you demystify the myths about mentorship and introduce you to the right course of what true mentorship is, why is mentorship important, who a mentor is and the qualities that make a good mentor.
What is mentorship?
Mentorship is an act that allows others to discover their potential and grow to become the best version of their selves. Mentorship is more of the personal development of the people being mentored (Also known as mentees). These mentees could outlive their mentor and rise to become the best in their chosen field of expertise.
Mentorship in Christianity was primarily orchestrated by God when he told Moses to groom the next generation of Levites. The Bible says:
“The Lord said to Moses, ‘This applies to the Levites: Men twenty-five years old or more shall come to take part in the work at the tent of meeting, but at the age of fifty, they must retire from their regular service and work no longer. They may assist their brothers in performing their duties at the tent of meeting, but they themselves must not do the work. This, then, is how you are to assign the responsibilities of the Levites.”–Numbers 8:23–26
God was equally making it clear the ministry of elders in the church is to mentor the younger generation. Mentors impart their mentees with skills, expertise and wisdom with experience due to their advancement in age.
Mentoring has been the only way the Christian faith has been passed from generation to generation. Through mentorship, the church moved from Jerusalem, Samarian, and to the uttermost part of the world. Therefore, mentorship is vital for growth, increase and expansion.
Jesus Christ mentored twelve disciples and today, the effect of His mentorship is evident. Other biblical examples of mentors who passed on great virtues to their mentees include the mentorship role of Elijah in the life of Elisha, Eli and Samuel, Naomi and Ruth and Paul and timothy and a host of others.
Importance of Mentorship
Mentorship is the basis for posterity. Suppose the next generation is any concern to you. In that case, you must be conscious about training and discipleship, which are the hallmark of mentorship. Many people do not understand that mentorship is not just about their mentees. Mentoring also helps the mentor build capacity and relevance.
Below are some of the importance of mentorship:
- Mentoring builds a good relationship – Mentoring is a means of building a good and quality relationship between both parties. We need each other and to sustain this need, then we have to be available for one another. This is what mentorship helps to achieve in the life of both the mentor and mentee.
- Growth and Development- You are relevant as long as you still have something to bring to the table. This is what mentorship helps to achieve. A mentor develops him or herself as the mentor groom others. It is two-sided and this is what makes it great.
- Mentoring is a Quick-fix mechanism- You learn from the mistakes and experiences of each other through mentoring and in learning, you understand what to do and what not to do.
Principles of Mentorship
Principles are established laws that govern a thing. Everything that works fine happens by principles, so is it with mentorship. If mentoring is anything to come by, then the application of its principles becomes essential.
- Principle of Purpose
Mentorship requires that both the mentee and mentor must be clear on purpose. Your purpose is unique and you must know that in mentorship.
- Principle of Discipline
Mentorship can be rigorous, but the outcome is worth it. Allow yourself to go through the rigor and you will be sure that you will come out refined. Jesus Christ would subject His disciples to the rigor of prayers and teaching. The rest is history today.
Qualities of a Good mentor
Mentors do not have to be famous to be good mentors. Popularity or fame is not the criteria to choose a mentor. Below are some of the qualities that make a good mentor:
- A good mentor asks self-reflection questions- Good Mentors ask questions from their mentees, not because they demand an answer always, but for the purpose of self-reflection for those you mentor. Ask questions about the ministry, family, and fellowship with God.
- Leadership skills – This trait must be seen in every mentor. A good mentor should lead alright, correct in love, give wise counsel and understand individual differences.
- Open-hearted- Every mentor and mentee must be open to learning. Be rigid with your principles as a mentor but flexible with your approach.
- Humility – A proud heart will never learn or grow. The truth of the matter is that your mentor sometimes might be someone older, but it takes a humble mentor and mentee to learn from each other.
- Trust – Trust is the hallmark of any relationship. A mentor must be a leader and a confidant whom people can trust with their past, present, and future.