I am totally sold out to the importance of mentorship. Yet one of the most discouraging things to encounter in the mentorship process is when your mentee drops the ball.
It’s even more frustrating when you’ve been working with this individual for a while. You really believed they were starting to get it. They were making good progress.
Then they make that horrible choice.
I had one such experience. Actually I’ve had more than one experience.
This got me thinking. How many times have I dropped the ball? I am not perfect. I am not 100% at the line, to use a sports analogy.
So why should I expect the person I’m mentoring to be perfect? In these experiences, I have learned three things that will keep you focused on hanging through the tough times with your mentee.
Love them anyway.
The Bible said while we were yet sinners Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). While we were in the middle of our mess, Jesus Christ came to the cross. So that when we came to the point of repentance, the debt would have already been paid.
The Lesson: Why shouldn’t we offer the same grace to our mentees? They are just as human as we are. So we love them in the good times and we love them in the tough times.
Keep them accountable.
There’s a story where Jesus is foretelling his death and resurrection. Peter one of his disciples pulls him aside and begins to rebuke him (meaning he took it upon himself to set Jesus straight). Jesus immediately turns the rebuke back on Peter offering some pretty harsh words (Mark 8:31-33).
The Lesson: Sometimes it will seem easier to excuse their behavior or mistake. However, brushing dirt under the carpet does not clean it up. Eventually it will begin to seep out.
Show them you still have faith in them.
Peter promised Jesus that he would stand by his side even up to death. But he didn’t. He left his teacher hanging, literally. Yet Jesus restored Peter and charged him to minister on his behalf (John 21:15-17).
The Lesson: The hardest thing is bestowing trust on someone who has just dropped the ball. However, there is no greater feeling than someone who roots you on despite your failings.
Mentoring can be challenging.
As unrelenting optimists, we believe that despite the inconsistency, dropped balls or failures of our mentee(s), the future is much brighter than the past or the present.
We will continue to love them, hold them accountable and show our faith in them.
Question: What would you add to the list? Leave your suggestions with a comment below