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Growing Leaders Blog

on Leading the Next Generation


Behind the Curtain of My Mentoring Group (Part One)

Lately, I’ve spotted others writing about the need for mentoring, how much they long to find a mentor and even one person who wrote about what they do in their mentoring group, after they’ve done it for two years.

All of this gave me pause.

Outside of the four books I’ve written on the subject, I have never pulled back the curtain and personally described what I do in my mentoring community. I have mentored emerging leaders for just over thirty years now.  Let me share with you what I’ve learned and what I’ve found works when I mentor a community of leaders. Today, I will start with how I choose the people I want to mentor.


How I Choose People to Mentor:

The best way to summarize what I look for is with the acronym FAITH

1. I look for people who are Faithful. (Faithful to their previous commitments)
2. I look for people who are Available. (They have the time to meet regularly)
3. I look for people with Initiative. (They don’t sit around waiting for action)
4. I look for people who are Teachable (They will learn willingly from me)
5. I look for people who are Hungry (They are passionate to grow)

If I plan to mentor leaders, I look for GIFTS:

1. They are Gifted. (They have obvious gifts of communication, planning, etc.)
2. They have Influence (Even without a title, they influence others)
3. They are Fruitful (They produce results whatever task they do)
4. They are Trustworthy (They can be depended upon to keep commitments)
5. They are Serving (They currently are active, serving in some capacity)

I’ve found if I can spot even three out of five of these characteristics, I am  likely to have a positive experience with a mentee.

For a practical encyclopedia on the subject, check out the book, Life Giving Mentors by clicking here. Tomorrow, I will provide a peek behind the curtain on what commitments I ask for in a mentoring community.


  1. JTR on January 14, 2012 at 12:07 pm


    Being a part of your mentoring group 7 years ago has changed my life more than I could ever express.  I would not have the spouse, the job or the focus I have without you.  Thank you for investing your life into mine.  I know so many would share the same thoughts I have shared today about the impact you have had on us.  It is truly significant.

    Thank you!  

    • Tim Elmore on January 16, 2012 at 3:53 pm

      Thanks so much for sharing the outcome of participating in the mentoring group. It’s always encouraging to hear stories of the lasting impact from that time spent together.

      I hope your story encourages others to pursue a mentor this year or begin to mentor those around them!

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Behind the Curtain of My Mentoring Group (Part One)