Mentorship

Modern mentoring: Why is it important and how is it different?

By Christine Gorz

Merriam-Webster defines a mentor as a trusted counselor or guide. 

The number one thing employers can do to demonstrate their investment in a young person becoming a leader is to train and develop them, including coaching and mentoring,” stated Lindsey Pollak, The Hartford’s Millennial Workplace Expert. 

Many millennials seek purpose in their work. Helping them to explore their God-given vision and the talents they possess early in their career increases their job satisfaction and enables them to make an impact throughout their life.  

Lifeway research found that 68 percent of church-going young adults identified the opportunity to receive advice from people with similar life experiences as very important. Young adults place high value on connecting with people who have more life experience than they do.

As we find regularly at Resource Global, today’s emerging leaders of faith frequently desire to make a difference through their careers and in their communities, cities and the world. They long for a like-minded guide who will come alongside them and help them think through strategic questions and provide relevant resources as they navigate the marketplace. 

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Is mentoring biblical? While you won’t find the word “mentoring” in the Bible, we see many examples of mentoring relationships taking place throughout scripture. Jethro mentored Moses, Moses mentored Joshua, Naomi mentored Ruth, Eli mentored Samuel, Samuel mentored Saul and David, Elijah mentored Elisha, Elizabeth mentored Mary, Priscilla and Aquila mentored Apollos, Jesus mentored the disciples, and Paul mentored Timothy. In Titus older women are instructed to train younger women and Paul implies that older men should teach younger men by example.

So how is modern mentoring different from traditional mentoring?

First, the focus is on what the mentee wants to learn, not on what the mentor knows. Mentees bring their most important questions and mentors engage with them to help foster growth in the desired areas. Mentors may recommend resources, assignments, and contacts in their networks who have particular expertise or experience. The mentee is an active participant throughout the process.

Second, the relationship is characterized by authenticity. Mentees are seeking a more experienced person who will share their work and life experiences with transparency—the good, the bad, and the ugly. This occurs when the relationship is a safe place to discuss ideas and both parties share experiences that include stories of successes and struggles, how they have processed them and what they learned.

Finally, mentors benefit in the process. Mentors aren’t just giving, they also receive. In my own experience as a mentor I am inspired nearly every time I connect with my mentees—by their heart to make a difference, their lives of faith and by their thoughtful engagement with God, their work, and the world around them. I learn new things as I engage with different perspectives and experiences. Time flies and I am always thankful for the opportunities I have in mentoring. 

So what are you waiting for? Jump in and become a trusted guide for an emerging leader in your organization, church or community. You’ll be providing a valuable service and you may just find you receive much more in return. 

Christine Gorz helps Resource Global with connecting and developing our mentorship pool for our cohorts. She formerly was the Vice President of Marketing and Communications at Moody Bible Institute. She has also done marketing in the Christian music industry in Nashville, Tenn. She and her husband, Chris, live in Chicago and she loves mid-century design and a good cup of coffee.