Dealing with Mentoring Myths

May 4, 2011

Mentoring, Coaching, Accountability Partners, personal Advisory Councils / Board, and so on are all ways of intentionally seeking out wise people and inviting them to invest into our lives.  Scripture admonishes us to seek out wise and godly counsel.  I have a Leadership Coach (Pastor Dave Kraft) as well as five men that are on my personal “Advisory Council” and they have all impacted my life deeply.

Mentoring is a powerful means to bring the influence and counsel of others into your life in a deeply meaningful manner.

The online version of Harvard Business Review has a good blog post dealing with some of the “myths” surrounding mentoring entitled Demystifying Mentoring. Following are the Four Myths:

Myth #1: You have to find one perfect mentor: It’s actually quite rare these days that people get through their career with only one mentor. In fact, many people have several advisors they turn to.

Myth #2: Mentoring is a formal long-term relationship: Because the world moves fast and people change jobs and careers more often, a long-term advising relationship may be unrealistic and unnecessary. “Mentoring can be a one-hour mentoring session. We don’t have to escalate it to a six-month or year-long event.

Myth #3: Mentoring is for junior people
Many people assume that they only need a mentor when they are first starting out in their careers. “We used to think it was people at early stages of their career who needed mentoring . . . Now we understand that people at every stage benefit from this kind of assistance . . .”

Myth #4: Mentoring is something more experienced people do out of the goodness of their hearts: “It can be an honor to ask someone to be a mentor,” says Willyerd. But the respect isn’t the only reason people agree to help. Mentoring should be useful to both parties involved. Before seeking out a mentor, think about what you have to offer him.

This is a good article and it goes on to articulate some basic mentoring “Do’s” and “Don’t’s’ as well as giving three case studies.

The key point is that we all need others to grow in all aspects of our lives and we need to be intentional about building that into the daily fabric of our lives.

“Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.” Proverbs 19:20

BG