Human Interest

Every Team Needs A Great Leader: Who’s On Your Team?

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Who’s on your team? Last month I wrote about leading and following. The article got a great response. So, this month I will attempt to shed some light on the value of mentoring and being mentored. The Book of Wisdom teaches us to find safety in having a group of wise advisors. “guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.” (Proverbs 11:14 Each of us should take advantage of the opportunity to collaborate and be critiqued by select individuals who possess godly wisdom and knowledge and are willing to share it on our behalf. Selecting a mentor in life is one of the most important decisions one can make. The selection of a mentor should not be taken lightly, nor neglected. When Jesus taught his disciples to pray, per their own request, he began with “Our Father…” This choice of salutation indicates the fact that we are not expected nor encouraged to go through this life alone: spiritually, or naturally.

Having a godly mentor is an act of faith in the reality that God expects us to experience a vertical relationship with Him and a horizontal relationship with each other. It would be arrogant and disrespectful to take the position that you don’t need anyone except “God” himself to tell you what to do. Conversely, it takes great humility to submit to the authority and opinion of another person.

Mentors should be selected over time and from different aspects of your life (work, church, common interests, etc.) If you don’t currently have four or five people you can call mentors, consider expanding your team. According to our text, safety comes from having a variety of perspectives to listen to. When you have trusted mentors giving you advice that is congruent, you increase your chances of making good decisions.

Your mentoring team consists of individuals who have demonstrated godly wisdom in their own lives and, also have proven their interest in your success and well-being. This is important, because we all need to have people to who we give permission to speak into our lives: someone who can tell us when we are wrong and, also celebrate with us when we are getting it right.

I would like to share with your five principles for mentoring and coaching published by Centre for the Use of Research and Evidence in Education (CUREE), UK / Department for Education and Skills, National Framework for Mentoring and Coaching 2004 – 2005.

  1. A learning conversation: Structured professional dialogue, rooted in evidence from the professional learner’s practice, which articulates existing beliefs and practices to enable reflection on them.

  2. A thoughtful relationship: Developing trust, attending respectfully and with sensitivity to the powerful emotions involved in deep professional learning.

  3. Growing self-direction: An evolving process in which the learner takes increasing responsibility for their professional development as skills, knowledge and self-awareness increase.

  4. Setting challenging and personal goals: Identifying goals that build on what learners know and can do already, but could not yet achieve alone, whilst attending to both school and individual priorities.

  5. Using resources effectively: Making and using time and other resources creatively to protect and sustain learning, action and reflection on a day to day basis.

While these principles were developed for the mentoring and coaching of educators, they are applicable across multiple disciplines. We can’t study mentoring and coaching too much. The more we learn the more we can teach. The more we teach, the more we learn, because of our preparation, exhortation and, hopefully, exhilaration in the process. To help you be most effective in the mentor/mentee process, pray this short prayer of appreciation. Lord Jesus, I thank you for being my God and allowing me to be on your team. I thank you for the strong mentors you have given me and pray that I will become an effective mentor for someone else in Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

One of the best ways to select a good mentor is to commit to becoming a good mentor to someone else. As you make every effort to be a good mentor, you will better understand the qualities a good mentor should possess. The more you experience good mentoring, the greater your understanding of mentoring will be. You see? Everyone on your team is teaching and learning. Everyone’s talent is being transformed into a gift for someone else. Jesus went on to teach his disciples to pray “give us…”; “forgive us…” etc. Everyone on the team is committed to the success of everyone else on the team. Who’s on your team? More importantly – Who’s team are you on?

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