7-UP's for Mentors: Listen Up

7-UP’s for Mentors: Listen Up


Hello Brothers,
The purpose of this monthly note is to keep you informed about the Brothers of Valor 1-on-1 mentoring ministry and to encourage you in your mentoring work.  As always, "thank you!” for your commitment to investing in the lives of other men.  We at Valor believe that if men grow in their walk with Christ, then women, children and families thrive.  You have chosen to stand in the gap for another man, and that will have an eternal impact. 
Listen-Up.  As mentors, it’s easy to fall into thinking that our job is to share all our thoughts and experiences with our mentee.  Honestly, doing that could do more harm than good.  If you’ve ever spent time with a person that only allows a one-way stream of words, then you know that it leaves you feeling like they don’t really know you and don’t care about you.  Our initial job as a mentor is to get to know our mentee by listening and asking questions, and then listening some more.  We should be excellent “active” listeners, practicing eye-contact, forward body posture, and asking clarifying questions. 

Our initial job as a mentor is to get to know our mentee by listening and asking questions, and then listening some more.

And remember, it doesn’t matter if you think you understand your mentee.  What matters is that your mentee believes that you understand him, his situation, his thought patterns, his loves and his pains.  You can easily check your understanding by rephrasing his statements and asking him if your understanding is correct.  As your relationship matures, there will be time to offer help, insights and advice.  But especially early in your relationship, spend the bulk of your time listening.  As a mentor, you are a servant to the soul of your mentee.  You can serve him best by getting to know him well, understanding the quality of his relationships with others, his understanding of God’s love and grace.
One more point.  You may have a mentee that shares freely, so your conversations move forward well and lack awkward silences.  However, you may have a mentee that is introverted and not very talkative.  What to do?  Here are a few ideas:
1.     Share your own life journey, both successes and failures.  This gives you a chance to be transparent and also stop periodically to ask “what would you have done if you were in my shoes, and why?”
2.     Read a chapter of Proverbs together and ask questions about what he thinks or feels about the key truths you encounter, and why. 
3.     Don’t be worried about awkward silences.  Most likely if your mentee is an introvert, then he may need those silent pauses to think and process before he answers a question. 

Proverbs 20:5 “A plan in the heart of a man is like deep water, but a man of understanding draws if out”. 

God bless you for your faithful service to Him,
Tom Greenwood
1-on-1 Mentoring Leader

Tim DavisComment