How to Find a Mentor

The where of finding a mentor is obvious: potential mentors are all around you – you just have to know how to look.

It would be easy to assume that a potential mentor would stand out like a polished gem among dull stones, but that is not often the case. We tend to assume that mentors have to be unusually successful, or prominent, or brilliant, or outstanding in some other way. But the truth of the matter is that many of the best mentors are not spectacular – just solid. They may not stand out in a crowd, but they are out there.

Howard and Bill Hendricks, writing in their book “As Iron Sharpens Iron,” give the following three practical suggestions for finding a mentor:

Pray for a Mentor

We may not take prayer seriously, but God does. As you pray for a mentor, you’ve got to trust God, even through you cannot see any prospects on the horizon. Searching for a mentor is one of those times when, as Scripture says, you have to walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).

Start Looking

Look around you – potential mentors are moving in and out of patterns of life all the time, but you’ve got to look for them. Open your eyes. Perk up your ears. Look and listen to what is happening around you. Understand the Marks of a Mentor, and make a list of who has those marks.

Make Contact

Once you have identified a potential mentor, connect with them. Ask them out to breakfast or lunch; talk with him; pray with him. See if the relationship takes hold; find out if there is a chemistry there. Mentoring develops out of that kind of initial contact. Here’s a pointer on stimulating some interaction: most of us respond to people who respond to us, particularly in the area of our expertise. We feel more comfortable talking about that. So starting there can help break the ice in a relationship. The point is not to try to manipulate someone into a relationship he doesn’t want, but rather to be informed about what matters to him.

If you want to find a mentor, think like a mentor.

(from a prior series on Mentoring, while I am away on vacation)


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