Five Rules I Follow When Meeting With A Mentor
I originally posted this back in 2008…but I modified it just a tad and really thought it was necessary to share again…
I have had the privilege of being mentored by some incredible leaders, some you would know, others you might not–but nonetheless, God has used them to teach me SO MUCH about life and ministry.
Over the years I have developed five rules for meeting with a mentor that I would love to share here today…you may agree or disagree, all I know is that they have worked for me.
#1 – I Always Adjust To Their Schedule–ALWAYS!
When I am attempting to set up an appointment with someone I want to meet with–I always ask them (or their assistant) to throw two or three dates at me that is most convenient for them…and then I adjust my schedule to make the meeting happen.
I NEVER send them the times I want and then ask them to adjust their schedules. I am the one who wants the meeting…and if they are available to me I will bend over backwards to hang out with them.
#2 – I Am Always Early For The Appointment
If I am driving from out of town I always make sure I arrive around 30 minutes early. If I get there TOO early then I will find a coffee shop–OR break out a book (ALWAYS have a book with you.) AND…if I see I am going to be late because of traffic or unforeseen circumstance I always give them (or their assistant) a call informing them that I am on my way. (I do this EVEN if I am going to be five minutes late—to me it’s simply a matter of respect.)
Usually I will arrive at the person’s office to meet them about 15 minutes early…and quite a few times the person I am meeting with has been ready, thus giving me “bonus time!”
#3 – I Have A List Of At Least Five Questions That I Want To Ask.
I remember John Maxwell saying to me once, “I will mentor you, but you have to ask the questions. I am not preparing a lesson for you…YOU guide this meeting. If you want to know something–ASK. If you don’t ask anything then we don’t really have anything to talk about.”
SO…anytime I meet with a mentor (especially JOHN) I am LOADED with questions. Sometimes I get them all answered…sometimes I don’t…but I NEVER walk into a meeting without having a list of what I would like to know.
#4 – I Don’t Talk About Myself Unless They Ask.
When I meet with a mentor I don’t spend 30 minutes telling them about myself, my daily routine, my philosophy of ministry and how good I think I am. I ask questions and then SHUT UP! If I disagree I do not argue; in fact, if I disagree with something I will usually ask them to explain their point of view a little more…which often times has helped me in SO many ways as I have learned that I really can love people even if we disagree! If they ask me a question in regards to what I believe about certain things then I will answer…if not then I will keep on asking them my questions. They didn’t ask to meet with me…I wanted to meet with them–TO LEARN from them, not debate them.
#5 – I Always Send A Note/Gift Saying Thanks.
I haven’t done this until recently…but anytime someone gives me time I will send them a Starbucks gift card or a restaurant gift card–just to thank them for the time. (And I jot them about a four sentence note–NOT A BOOK, but a note.)
Those are my rules…hope they help!
OTHER POSTS THAT YOU MAY WANT TO CONSIDER…
- “Figure It Out!” - There are some things a “mentor” can’t help you with…you are just going to have to figure it out!
- “What Did You Do Wrong?” - I often get asked this question by other church leaders, here’s a list of 7 things.
- “Five Questions That Leaders Should Ask” - Leaders don’t always have to have the answer…but we do need to ask the right questions. Here are five questions that always help me find the right answer.