Have you been mentored well?
What were some of the qualities of that mentoring relationship that were most effective?Frankly, I am surprised that I did this because in the past, I have posted questions on Facebook, and despite having 1,800+ "friends," have received minimal response. (Then again, I get the most likes and commentary for an occasional photo of my cat, so...)
Nevertheless, I have been greatly encouraged by the depth and quality of feedback these latest questions have prompted. The variety has been wonderful: both men and women responded in equal measure, from fresh college grads to septuagenarians.
Some pithy quotes:
The person thought me capable of more than I thought I was.
They lived and let me watch them do it.
Vulnerability and authenticity for sure. The ability to be myself. Both encouragement and critique -- always refining what can be better while affirming what I'm doing well. Sometimes I need to be pushed!
Regular quantity and quality time—holistic in nature: we discussed everything (faith, theology, marriage, work, plumbing, gardening, etc).
In this stage of life for me (young kids and plenty of chaos at home) I have seen the “walk along side of me” way become really meaningful.
I enjoyed each and every response, but my greatest takeaway was simple: clearly I had touched a chord. The earnest and beautiful replies demonstrated a great thankfulness and affection for their mentors. It was obvious that the mentoring had met and deep and tangible needs:
- to be loved unconditionally;
- to be known;
- to be noticed;
- to be believed in;
- to be challenged;
- to have mutual vulnerability and exchange;
- to have a consistent presence.
Having been mentored well myself, and then having had the privilege of mentoring others over three decades, my most pressing questions relate to what is needed now in mentoring (especially with young adults), and what truths remain constant. All too often I see leaders tend to lean on methods and approaches that worked effectively in the past without examining whether current dynamics and contexts require new pathways.
I will save that for another post, as I keep mining the wisdom of others and reflect more on my own experience. Feel free to post your thoughts.