"Must and Wants" Of Getting A Mentor

I have been a mentee in several mentoring relationships and I have also been a mentor in a few others. I have had some bad ones and some that have made me become a better worker, husband, dad, and person. When thinking about seeking a mentor and a mentoring relationship, I have several chief “musts” and "wants" that I use as a filter to help me get the most out of the relationship.

When looking for a mentor, I need to have a mentor who has proven skills in developing leaders, especially leaders that are high capacity leaders. Also, this mentor must be able to challenge and encourage me to dream big and think bigger. I must also be able to relationally relate and trust this individual. My musts include:

  • Must have experience in establishing overall vision and strategic thinking
  • Must be an authentic leader
  • Must have excellent people skills
  • Must have previous experience in mentoring high level leaders
  • Must be able to relate to me and my situational context & is a good listener
  • Must not be afraid to be open and honest with me & challenge me
  • Must be a follower of the Way
  • Must have an active prayer life
  • Must be committed to the mentoring relationship for one year

As far as my wants, I would like for my mentor and the mentorship help me expand my network of relationships. And I would like for my mentor and I to develop some level of friendship. With this, here is my list of wants:

  • I want someone who gets sarcastic humor (I definitely have one and would not want to offend them)
  • I want an easy-going person
  • I want someone who has had previous successful high level leadership experience in a ministry context
  • I want someone that can provide exposure and visibility to others in my field or other high level leaders
  • I want someone who is available. I would like to be able to contact them to discuss leadership issues that arise

I currently have a mentoring relationship and also a coaching relationship and have benefited from it tremendously. My list of "musts" and "wants" are ideal and I don't expect and individual to meant all the criteria. However, I would like the  situation and the person to come close. I have also learned that sometimes you need to test the waters and have a trial period when it comes to establishing a mentoring relationship. Have a bad fit can do more harm than good.