Want someone to talk to who will actually listen?
Want someone to brainstorm ideas with who will actually help?
Want someone in your corner who will be your cheerleader, advocate and confidant?
Who doesn’t want someone to help them navigate all the tricky moments in their life and work?
But finding the perfect mentor isn’t as easy as just asking someone you admire to give you advice.
I am regularly asked, “How do I find a mentor?” Personally, May and me don’t choose our mentees lightly. So here’s our answer; basically we are looking for 8 things.
Good Work Ethic
Mentees need to be people who are driven. They have to have the drive and ambition to be worth our time. We want to see they know how to work and get things done. Doing B4T is hard work and if a person is not willing to put in 10 or 12 hour days, s/he probably won’t garner our attention.
The world, especially the mission world, is full of dreamers. Mentees need to have the clarity and intelligence to understand the challenges they’re going to face. Whether that be in their business, their walk with God, or their marriage. They need to accept criticism and recognize they have both strengths and weaknesses.
Is the mentee a person/couple of the Word and prayer? Is this evident in their life, marriage and work?
We look for mentees who have locals in their homes, talk about their local friends as real friends and not as “contacts.” Potential mentees who give and sacrifice for others, show us they will reproduce what we learn together in the lives of others.
Most of those May and me mentor become our close friends. I have enough critics without mentoring one. We all have problems but we need to enjoy life, God and one another.
The humility to accept our help and apply most of what we suggest or have better reasons not to. It’s no fun pouring into people only to have them ignore the advice given. We never expect a mentee to do everything we suggest, but we do expect mentees to prayerfully and seriously seek the input of others before taking a different path.
The mentee needs to enjoy working with and involving others in the work. This especially includes the marriage. The couple both do not need to work in the business, but they must recognize and strive to honor one another’s roles in the assignment God has given them.
This comes in two forms. Is a mentee willing to invest in the lives of others? In 2 Timothy 2, Paul exhorts leaders to invest in people who will reproduce in others what they have learned. Bearing fruit in the lives of others is a key requirement for followers of Jesus and for a mentee. In addition, I enjoy working with people who also give me feedback. One young OPEN worker we mentor regularly answers my questions and then re-asks them of me. I love the accountability and the interest in my life this shows. I have needs, I have weaknesses. The mentee must show s/he is willing to invest in me help me grow too.
The mentee needs to prove a willingness to at least cover my expenses
Praying daily for people, answering emails, networking, being an advocate for new team members and potential investors all takes time. The mentee needs to prove s/he values my time.
Are you mentoring others? What do you look for in mentees?
PATRICK LAI and his family have worked in SE Asia for other 37 years. His experience in doing business with Jesus has brought him to understand the meaning of work and worship in the marketplace. He started 14 businesses in four countries, six of which are still operating. Patrick and his wife, May, mentor and coach businesspeople working where there are few or no Christians. Check out Patrick’s latest book, Workship, now available in paperback and e-book.