I can’t overstate the importance or value of transparency on the part of the mentor. The books you’ll read are important. The Scriptures you’ll memorize are critical. But the impact a mature man has on a group of guys when he authentically shares his life experiences . . . the good, the bad, and the ugly . . . is a massive part of the secret sauce.
Your story reflects your faith in and relationship with Jesus. It’s what gives you credibility, moral authority, and sets you up for success as a mentor.
In his book Inside Out Coaching, Joe Ehrmann says we can’t help anyone with their lives until we have a coherent narrative of our own. So, we must be able to look at the positive and negative turns in our story and see how God was there . . . how He used the events in our lives to shape us into the likeness of His Son, at least to the degree He has so far.
When you share your story, we’re looking for honest, gut-level self-disclosure. “This is what I did,” and “This is what I wish I’d done,” kind of stuff. Your level of transparency will set the tone for your mentees. You play it close to the vest, and in turn, they’ll play it close to the vest. You tell your whole story and cry, they’ll tell their whole story and cry. People are just that way. They have to know it’s safe to be transparent and real, and somebody must go first. That somebody must be you.
Your mentees are going to make mistakes. It’s a part of life. But our goal as mentors is to try to help them at least avoid the ones we made. “Make different mistakes,” we tell them. “Learn from my experience, and at least you’ll know what not to do.”
The best mentors are guys who have experienced God’s grace in a personal and powerful way. They can own their mistakes and share them openly because God has forgiven them, and God has walked with them through the consequences of those mistakes.
This transparency works the same way on the good things you’ve learned or the things you’ve done well. Sharing these successes is more impactful when the mentor is humble and gives God credit for leading and protecting him to avoid the errors he could have made.
Bottom-line, it’s all about God. It’s all about brokenness. It’s all about gratitude. It’s all about humility. And with these things, you can share your life stories transparently and thus serve your mentees in a unique way.
Be honest. Don’t sugarcoat it. Tell it all. Give Him the credit. Don’t worry about what anyone will think.
Mentor Tip: People can argue with your theology, they can criticize your behavior, but no one can argue with your story. Your unique experience with the Father fuels your faith and will empower you to help your guys open up and grow.
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