3 Marks to Identify What A Good Mentor Should Look Like

This word gets tossed around far too many times and far too easily.  We think someone older, with something to say/wiser  is immediately put into this category of mentor.  If they give us a pithy one liner or take us out for coffee they are a mentor.  If they modeled something beneficial, we attach mentor to their name.

I would encourage you to reserve this title for a little more elite class of “mentor” rather than simply an adviser.

Before you can define WHO your mentor is maybe you should understand WHAT a mentor is.

A person who has gone ahead of you in this journey and will instruct you of upcoming pitfalls.  

Okay, I think we all understand this one, but its critical.  If this person has nothing of value to bring you than they are clearly not a mentor.  A mentor must bring something of value or expertise in an area you are wanting to grow in.  They must have a great maturity, knowledge base, and expertise in an area you want to grow in.  They are clearly at the top of their field and willing to share wisdom and provide constructive criticism to you.

A person who intentionally listens you to and guides you according to your current obstacles.

 If you have ever had a conversation there are times it feels like a ping pong match, venting, catching up, debate, or a monologue, but a mentor is one who hears where you are and meets you where you are at.  They return from the mile marker they are at in order to walk you through.  They have seen you at your lowest and encourage you to push through most likely because they have been there before.

A person who wants the best for you and invests a priority of life into you, time, in order to see you succeed.

I think we have people in our lives who give up time, but there is a difference in my mind when some invests in you.  They are willing to spend significant time and energy working through ideas in order for you to growth.  They can assess who you are and recognize ways you can grow.  They see something in you and are willing to give up their time and energy to see that something grow in you.

What other critical marks do you look for in a mentor?

How do you distinguish a friend or advisor from a mentor?

 

9 thoughts on “3 Marks to Identify What A Good Mentor Should Look Like

  • I think your last point about someone who will invest time and energy into you is the crucial one. That’s the difference in my mind between a mentor and just someone who gives good advice.

    • Loren,
      Great point man. And it feels like we throw around the term mentor to define those “good advice people” rather than reserve it for people who really take time and invest! Do you have anyone who has helped you with the podcasting that you look to as a mentor in your life?

  • As I read this, I think of how few mentors are  compared to all the people who really need them. Most of us have great friends or those willing to advise us from time to time, but how many can honestly say they have a mentor?

    It seems people are too busy to invest that much time and energy into people.  I’m not saying they don’t exist, because they do- thank God. It’s just God has laid on my heart the one’s on the fringes of church or society that few are willing to invest in. Instead they look for ones more like themselves.  

    • Absolutely TC!  Probably few can.  And from your blog and connections to so many people it feels like you truly want to take the time to invest in them to reach their potential!  Thanks for the comment TC.  

  • This goes along with the first point, I would say the mentor must be growing and learning. They need to be a life long learner not someone has reached the top(or success) then stop learning. Great points David. 

  • Love your thoughts here, David! The other thing I look for in a mentor is someone who is willing to do life with you. Going out for coffee and conversation is great, but a mentor should also invite you into their lives – let you see the ups and downs in their faith, how they handle disappointments, and how they rebound and get back on path. 

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