Yesterday, I began a series, sparked by the conversation going on around the country about mentoring. So many have just begun this habit, while we, our team at Growing Leaders, have been doing this for three decades. While I don’t consider myself some sort of expert on the subject, we do want to weigh in on a conversation in which so many inexperienced folks are talking.
In my last blog, I covered the qualities I look for in a person when I choose to mentor them. Today, I want to share with you the commitment I ask for when I mentor a group of emerging leaders.
The Commitment I Ask For:
Before I agree to mentor an inquirer, I tell them who fits in my “window” to invest lots of time with, at this point in my life. Obviously, I can’t mentor everyone. So, before I ask someone to “sign on the dotted line”, I clarify what I expect:
1. They make every meeting, read every book assigned each month and do every exercise (application) each month. Since 1979, I have regularly met with “mentees” for the purpose of growth. We meet monthly, for three hours, we read and discuss a book, and we commit to an application (an exercise) in response to our discussion.
2. They agree to take on an official leadership role or position by the end of our year together. (Most are already serving in this capacity, but I want to make sure they are committed to a place to embody the principles they will learn).
3. They commit to mentor at least one other leader when we are finished. This means they will reproduce the mentoring experience with a group or an individual of their own choosing within the year.
In today’s busy culture, I have found this level of commitment is rare, but doable for people who sincerely want to grow. You and I both know—folks make time for what they really want to do. If a person cannot make or keep this commitment, I still remain friends with them, but they are released from the group.
Let me ask you a question. Are you meeting with people to get mentored? Do you have a group you are currently investing in? Why not start now as 2013 begins?
As you mentor and invest in others, make it a priority to pursue personal mentors who pour into you. If you want to grow in your ability to lead the next generation well, I would be honored to serve as one of your mentors in that area through an easy-to-use and affordable online program called Leadership2Go. You can find out all of the details here.
Tomorrow, I will cover what we do in the course of a year.