In a new mentoring relationship, what do we talk about?
If you’re an extrovert, you may not even consider that a problem – because it isn’t! At least you know you can fill up any silent spaces. But of course, mentoring doesn’t have to do with being an extrovert or an introvert because it’s usually a one-on-one relationship. And some of my introverted friends are the biggest talkers I know. (Make sure your coffee pot is full!)
I usually have a muffin or some chocolate to get the ball rolling.
I get to come alongside Christiane on a semi-regular basis, and she’s gone on to mentor others in her circle. So fun to see!
You may be hesitant to enter a mentoring relationship because you don’t know where to start and what to share.
I always begin by asking:
“What would you like to get out of our time together?”
Some gals are very specific and others have no idea; they just like you or they are desperate for adult fellowship! Go ahead and ask this first question and then ask some getting to know you questions because that’s what you want to do—get to know another for the sake of helping her grow up in Jesus.
- Where are you from?
- Describe your family of origin.
- How long have you been in a relationship with God?
- What are your biggest joys and your biggest challenges currently?
- Are there specific changes you would like to make in your life?
- Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
- Have you been mentored before; if so, how was it helpful?
- What is your understanding of a mentor-mentee relationship?
Often, one question leads to another and you’re on your way! Questions also help you both determine the kind of mentoring that needs to occur.
Make that the focus of each time together. Even ask your mentee for feedback on occasion:
Do you see growth since we’ve begun meeting?
Is there something you want to change about our time together?
Do we need to emphasize more on______________?
You may find that your gal only needs to get out of the house, drink a cup of coffee and talk about her challenges that week. That is a totally worthy way to go. Sometimes we don’t need one more study to complete. Even so, prayer and Scripture memory can be part of your relationship.
Sometimes a woman’s issues are more difficult and weighty than you can or should handle. If you find yourself in discussions that make you feel either uncomfortable or are more serious in nature than you have experienced, always refer to a professional counselor, therapist and/or pastor. Our church has more than one trained counselor on staff, which is a great place to start.
A mentoring relationship is not a therapist relationship—unless, of course, you are a therapist.
If you have any doubts about continuing to meet with someone who is in a deep predicament, that is God talking to you. Listen to Him. Explain your views to your mentee, offer to help set up an appointment with another person—even offer to accompany her to the first session. And don’t feel guilty about it. (Do you need to read that again? And don’t feel guilty about it – as if you’ve failed.) Maybe she would only seek professional help by starting to meet with you. So God used you, even if for a short while. If we continue to hold onto a relationship which He is telling us to stop, it’s unhealthy for both, and it can be a red flag that we have all waved at one time or another that says:
“I’m the only one who can help this person!”
That flag has tripped me up more than once. I love what my dear friend, Bonnie told me years ago: “Sue, God is the One Who does the real work anyway.” So true. So right. So move on, dear one and He will do what He does best: grow us up into the image of His Son, in His way and by His plan.
For more on setting up a Personal Growth Plan for your mentoring relationship, see Table Mentoring: A Simple Guide for Coming Alongside.
Designed by Christiane and Red Letter Arts.
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