February 25, 2019 – Robert J. Tamasy In last week’s edition of “Monday Manna,” I introduced the idea of making a difference – making your mark in the world – through a highly relational, mutually beneficial approach to mentoring. This week I wrap up this discussion, citing additional principles that David A. Stoddard and I developed in our book, The Heart of Mentoring: Ten Proven Principles for Developing People to Their Fullest Potential.
As I mentioned, this differs from the typical approach to mentoring in which two individuals are assigned to each other, whether they like it or not. In our view, the best mentoring involves a more seasoned mentor working with a “mentoring partner,” both of them learning from one another. Here are some other basic principles for this approach, along with biblical foundations that support them:
Effective mentoring involves character building. Skill training and exchange of knowledge can be part of the mentoring process, but it should also aim for the development of the entire person, including character building and imparting values that govern their lives. To be most effective, the mentor must serve as an example of living out these traits. “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put into practice” (Philippians 4:9).
Effective mentoring offers comfort and willingness to share the load. Relationships grow through the demonstration of genuine care and concern for one another. A good mentor will want to know how the mentoring partner is doing both professionally and personally; work invariably affects one’s private life, and what is going on in one’s personal life has an impact on their work. “Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).
Effective mentoring helps others discover their passion. Sometimes the person being mentored is struggling because he or she is still trying to find their place. Even if they are successful, they might not be engaged in a profession they find fulfilling or meaningful. If personal interests and passions can somehow be aligned with the work they do, they will be able to thrive and become valued contributors wherever they go. The apostle Paul wrote to his protégé, Timothy, “Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you”(1 Timothy 4:14).
Effective mentoring includes reproduction, resulting in a legacy. Because of all he had gained from his own mentors, Dave Stoddard developed a desire to come alongside others and help them to grow professionally, personally, and spiritually. I have had a similar experience, and view that as part of my own legacy – assisting others, so they in turn can help others. “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others” (2 Timothy 2:2). ”I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth” (3 John 4).
Even though he departed from this life five years ago, Dave Stoddard’s impact continues through the lives of many men who are having a strong influence in their families, their companies, and other men they are helping to develop through mentoring.
A wise man once said the only things that will last for eternity are people and the Word of God. There are few better things we could do than to invest time, energy and resources into other people, helping them to become all they can be. Especially if we do so under the guidance of God and His eternal truth.
© 2019. Robert J. Tamasy has written Business at Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace; Tufting Legacies;coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring, and edited numerous other books, including Advancing Through Adversityby Mike Landry. Bob’s biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.
- Do you agree that character building and the imparting of strong values can be an important part of the mentoring process? Why or why not? Has anyone ever had that kind of impact in your own life?
- What do you think offering comfort and “sharing the load” within the context of a mentoring relationship would look like, in a practical sense? Do you agree that this is something an effective mentor should strive to do?
- How do you think we can help someone if they find themselves stuck in a job that they do not find inspiring, that does not provide fulfillment or meaning beyond receiving a paycheck? Is that even important? Explain your answer.
- In what ways could mentoring someone else become a significant part of the legacy we establish that will last long after our time on earth have ended?
NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about principles it presents, consider the following passages: Proverbs 17:17, 13:20, 20:27, 21:2; Matthew 4:18-22; Mark 3:14; Luke 5:1-11