Mentors and Discipleship Leaders
I am very aware of how relationships have two people and so two sides of the story. Some times the connection is viewed from both sides and by both people in a different way! I was recently listening to some studies that were performed and the results were very interesting, “Sometimes those that we see as our friends, don't share the same view of us!”
Early in my career, I made the mistake of assuming my managers were going to mentor me and help me grow in my career and progress through the company ladder, after all the better person and employee I became, the more value that I could add to my business. They were in charge of my work, so they should be the ones guiding my growth! I had more than a few managers who were poor mentors - and for good reason. They didn't see being my mentor as their job. I quickly learned if I wanted good mentors, I needed to seek them out myself.
You often hear about the need to find mentors which leads me to question what is typically the belief behind the allocation of the word mentor? A “Mentor” is usually interpreted as a person senior to you in experience, knowledge and in most cases age. I am all for finding people other than those inside our own heads to give perspective and guidance. An important part of developing as a person is the honest evaluation of circumstances and results experienced by us, and offering perspectives and feedback by yourself to yourself is quite easily biased and manipulated rather than factual and constructive.
Mentors are sought out, and I have at times gone to seek out people who in my own mind and from my perspective hold traits similar to those that I wish to see in my own life. However mentor-ship is the equivalent to coaching, and the best athletes in the world do not often make the best coaches of the chosen sport. One of the main reasons is that athletes tend to be centrally focused and selfish, this trait was very important in order for them to develop and achieve the great accolades that they did. Coaches on the other hand are more selfless people that invest and give of themselves to the student or upcoming athlete. It is because of this reason that the athlete succeeds.
To see greater results, not only do you need a second or third set of eyes, but you need those eyes to be of someone who cares and is concerned for your well being. These people are what I call Discipleship leaders.
Discipleship leaders seek you out, and seek to invest into your life. They seek to establish character traits in you through constantly meeting up and helping you to not only understand your situations and responses, but how to learn and grow from them. Through their devotion and intention they will learn to know you sometimes in a more intuitive way that you know yourself, giving you ideas and promptings that will have you catching your breath.
In the same way that a coach of an athlete does not need to know how to or have the physical attributes to run the 100m race at the Olympics and win gold, as a discipleship leader, you too are not under qualified. Coaches motivate, bring discipline and accountability, and in the same way a discipleship leader brings their commitment and desire to make a difference to the table to bring about lasting change in the disciple.
Change happens slowly, and needs to happen in a one on one relationship for it to be long lasting. I believe that we need more people to take the initiative and grab a disciple to pour their lives into.
Mentors are sought out based on perceived strengths and traits, Disciples are sought out by leaders because they want to make a lasting impression on someone else. I am fortunate to be a disciple to the greatest leader, Jesus!