Great Mentoring Practices

I was recently facilitating some reflection time with a group of experienced mentors and asked them about their “Best Practices”.  Here are the results.

  1. Collect, refine and use good questions.  Few things in mentoring are as powerful as a thoughtful question asked at the right time in a high trust relationship.  Have them at hand!
  2. Take the time to listen.  Do not hurry. Much can happen in silence while you wait.  Don’t rush ahead of what God might be doing.
  3. Know when to refer your mentoree for specialised learning, counselling or coaching.  These are short term intense relationships which complement but do not replace mentoring.  Do not let go of the relationship at this point, travel the journey alongside your mentoree.
  4. Know when to suggest an extra session, an extra phone call or other form of connection (skype) when a mentoree is under pressure or in crisis.
  5. Be open to “God Surprises”.  Have your ears and eyes tuned watching for what God is doing in your mentoree’s life.  Be ready for that ‘idea’, ‘image’, ‘metaphor’ or ‘story’ that connects with your mentoree and you know is a ‘God gift’ in a session.  Note these in your own reflections.
  6. Know when to discuss a process or issue with your supervisor.  Be aware of awkwardness in the relationship and explore what this is and means.
  7. Watch your own body language and the body language of your mentoree.  Communicate acceptance and support by how you present within in the session.
  8. Keep collecting, sorting, owning and using resources in mentoring.  How is your folder organised….  Have you got a second one yet?
  9. Find ways to ‘suggest’ rather than to ‘tell’.  This is a skill always worth refining. Plant seeds. Toss in the occasional ‘out there’ idea and just let it sit.
  10. Stay tuned to your mentorees ‘feeling’ words and communication.  There is often much more here than the content itself communicates.

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