While we think mentoring contract might be a little too much, often they build agreement between two parties which make the mentoring relationship successful.

Really? A mentoring contract? While it may sound like a little bit too much, this is what gives a mentoring relationship some clarity. In this Resolute Podcast, Vince Miller is joined by Greg Bourgond, founder of Heart Of A Warrior ministries, who is a prolific author (A Rattling of Sabers), men’s leader, and mentor to men. Today they discuss the components of a great mentoring contract.

PODCAST:

TRANSCRIPT:

Vince: This is Resolute, and the Resolute Men’s Leadership Podcast. I’m Vince Miller, your founder and host. And today we’re in a series on mentorship. Discussing today the topic of how to build a mentoring contract.

Welcome to the program. If this is your first time tuning in, well then thank you for joining us. Our mission at Resolute is to disciple and develop men to lead. So if you’re looking for content for your men’s group or even your men’s ministry – then you need to go to our website today at beresolute.org. If you want to follow us on any form of social media – go to Facebook or LinkedIn. You can follow us there. Or if you like to listen on your own feed, you can find us always in iTunes or in SoundCloud. But gentlemen, let’s dive in.

Today I am joined again by one of my good friends, Doctor Greg Bourgond. Doctor Bourgond is the President of Heart of the Warrior Ministries. He’s worked with men for over 40 years. He has been heavily involved in mentorship over those years. And so I’m excited to welcome him to the program today. Greg, welcome to the show.

Greg: Good to be here.

Vince: Man, I am – I’m actually more pumped about this podcast than any of the others on mentoring that we’ve done. We’ve talked about mentoring a little bit as it relates to our fear, pushing through those things and stepping into it. Last time we talked about some real practical stuff, right? We talked about types of mentors and relationships. Maybe for just a second, can you recap that before we get into this one?

Greg: Sure. There are intensive mentors who help build foundations in your life. There are occasional mentors who address a specific need. And then there are passive mentors. Who you probably have never met. May not even be alive. But every time you read something that they’ve written, listened to something they recorded – God feeds your soul. So you have intensive mentors, which are foundations. More regimented in the process. Occasional mentors. The time span of which will change. Depend upon the need. And then you have passive mentors.

Greg: Sure. There are intensive mentors who help build foundations in your life. There are occasional mentors who address a specific need. And then there are passive mentors. Who you probably have never met. May not even be alive. But every time you read something that they’ve written, listened to something they recorded – God feeds your soul. So you have intensive mentors, which are foundations. More regimented in the process. Occasional mentors. The time span of which will change. Depend upon the need. And then you have passive mentors.

Vince: Right, yeah. And these different kinds of relationships that we have in our life. Whether we recognize them as mentors, sometimes as not. Maybe the passive mentor, for example. They provide us with different types of wisdom, different time frames, etc, etc. And we talked about a lot of that last time. And I thought – if these guys that are listening today did not listen to that last podcast, they really need to go back to it. But today, we’re going to get into the topic of the actual mentoring contract.

Greg: Yes.
Vince: I love that you call it a contract. Because sometimes we need to DTR. Define the relationship, right? And not just relationships that we have with other people. We’re talking about a real structured, spiritual relationship. Where there

Vince: I love that you call it a contract. Because sometimes we need to DTR. Define the relationship, right? And not just relationships that we have with other people. We’re talking about a real structured, spiritual relationship. Where there is a mentee and a mentor. And we’re trying to go somewhere together, right?

Greg: Yeah, yeah.

Vince: So that’s what it sounds like a contract does. Give us a little bit of– Before you dive into the contract itself, can you give us a little history as to why you created this document specifically?

Greg: Well it was because I saw so many men floundering. And I would get repeated requests – would you invest in my life? And what they were really saying is, “Would you mentor me?”

Vince: Right.

Greg: And I was mentored.

Vince: Right.
Greg: And I found the value of it. It was by J Robert Clinton, still my mentor today. And there are others who have been my mentors. Erwin has certainly been an occasional mentor, as well as a passive mentor. So I have mentors in my life. But the idea is, I– It’s very hard to get your arms

Greg: And I found the value of it. It was by J Robert Clinton, still my mentor today. And there are others who have been my mentors. Erwin has certainly been an occasional mentor, as well as a passive mentor. So I have mentors in my life. But the idea is, I– It’s very hard to get your arms around because it’s such a big term.

Vince: Right.

Greg: Mentor.

Vince: Right.
Greg: So I wanted to go in and bring it down to the ground.

Greg: So I wanted to go in and bring it down to the ground.

Vince: There you go.

Greg: And say – here’s specifically what mentoring is about. And so in Heart of Warrior, I actually – phase 3 of Heart of a Warriors, is called “The Guide.” Where I train men how to mentor.

Vince: Yes.

Greg: But secondly, how to be mentored. And we’re talking about really a mentoring constellation. The fact is, is that God calls you and me to pass on to others what we’ve learned. So there’s a pass down aspect of it. And some of us say, “Well I – I’m not that mature,” or “I haven’t got my whole act together.” There is always something that you had that God’s given, you can pass onto someone else. Then there’s mentoring up.

Vince: Right.

Greg: Where you’re mentoring your boss or you’re mentoring people that are in a more significant position of responsibility. And offering some advice along the way. Then there’s peer mentoring.

Vince: Okay.

Greg: That’s where you’re both involved. You’ve got something – Vince, to give me. Which you already have over the course of our friendship. I have something to give to you.

Vince: Yeah.

Greg: So it’s a mutual sharing.k

Vince: Right.

Greg: Peer mentoring, mentoring up, and mentoring down. That’s called a mentoring constellation.

Vince: Got it. So now as we begin to kind of frame some of this up, let’s dive in deep to this contract.

Greg: Yeah.

Vince: And I really love that you did this, because it really helps to give us a guide for what this looks like. And I couldn’t agree with you more. I think terms like training – even the word discipleship or mentorship often are 2 abstract for people. And like you’ve said – in very last podcast, “It’s easy to hit nothing when you’re aiming for nothing,” right?

Greg: That’s right.

Vince: Like it really is easy.

Greg: Exactly.

Vince: But now you’re helping us to aim at something. So walk us through your particular contract, Greg.

Greg: For sure. Yeah. The idea here is – first of all – if you’re, men if you’re thinking about being mentored– One of the gifts – again, you can give the mentor that you’re going to seek out. Is having done some preliminary thought, in terms of, “What am I doing now I need to keep doing? What am I doing now I need to change? What am I doing now I need to stop doing? What am I not doing that we need to start doing?”

Thinking through, “What kind of a mentor do I really need?” And trying to be as specific as possible. Which isn’t always realistic. But be as specific as possible. So number 1, when you finally have this meeting – that oftentimes the mentoree, by the way – initiates the meeting. If you’re waiting for somebody to see the capability in you, a mentor to come to you – that’s not normally how it works. That’s the exception to the rule. So as a mentoree, you need to seek that person out.

So the first meeting is – you want to jointly agree on the purpose of the relationship. In other words, you want to present the objectives, you’ve done some preliminary work. Here’s the area that I need to be mentored in. And for a mentor, it’s always good to ask the mentoree, “What are your expectations? What do you hope to accomplish? What will constitute success at the end of our engagement?”

The second thing – set the criteria for evaluation. In other words, what will be a– What will a successful outcome look like? How will you know the objectives have been accomplished? You need to have the mentoree describe what they hope to accomplish.

Number 3 – determine the regularity of interaction. Should be a minimum of at least twice a month. Could be more, depending on the needs of the mentoree and the availability of the mentor. But what I would do is give you a caution, so you don’t scare the mentor away. You should begin with a 3-month trial. And you should say, “Let’s evaluate this at the end of 3 months, and I’ll let you know if I’m getting what I think I need, and you can let me know whether or not you’re able to give me what I think I need.”

Vince: Yeah.

Greg: “And we could part if that’s not the case, or we could continue on.”

Number 4 – determine accountability parameters. Honesty, vulnerability, accountability – whatever else is required by the mentor, and agreed upon by the mentoree. What accountability parameters will be applied?

Number 5 – set up communication mechanisms. In other words, is it going to email or is it going to be a phone, face to face? Whichever is the most convenient? You can, you could actually mentor somebody at a great distance.

Vince: Oh yeah.

Greg: And I’ve done that. I get calls all the time from people I’ve mentored in the past. I haven’t heard from in 2 or 3 years. And they’re bringing a concern to me or a question, and ask me to get involved, and that’s done by phone. It could be a combination of all of those. But at least, have 1 face to face meeting per month, in addition to a second or additional meeting by phone or email.

Number 6 – clarify the level of confidentiality. What is shared on a personal level must remain confidential, unless it’s of the legal nature? For instance, if you’re mentoring somebody, if there’s an abuse of any kind or a crime – by law, you’re required to report it. But you’ve got to lay out the parameters of confidentiality.

Number 7 – set the life cycle of the relationship. 3 months for a preliminary time frame – already talked about it. At the end of which each of you can evaluate the relationship. And if you’re in agreement to continue, set an end date.

Vince: Yes.

Greg: Critical. Don’t leave it open-ended.

Vince: Very good.

Greg: Not to exceed 6 additional months, a total of 9 months. That way you can release them, and you can – as a mentor decide, “You know what? They probably are going to need another 3 months.”

Vince: Right.

Greg: But if you don’t set that end date, it could be open-ended.

Alright, number 8 – we’ve got just a couple of more here. Evaluate the relationship from time to time.

Vince: Yeah.

Greg: Recommend an evaluation every 2 to 3 months. And that means that the mentor says to the mentoree, “Are you getting what you need?”

Vince: Yeah.

Greg: Or the mentoree says, “You know what, I think we need to go in a little bit different direction.” And especially when you’re an occasional mentor – based on needs, rather than intentional – which is more prescribed.

Vince: Right, right.

Greg: There are going to be some course changes. There are going to be some minor adjustments that you need to do. And if you don’t do the check in every 2 or 3 months, are you getting what you need? Has this been helpful to you? Then you’re wandering around in the dark.

Number 9 – modify expectations to fit the real-life mentoring situation. In other words, if an issue or concern arises that needs more focused attention, the mentor and mentoree should decide whether the parameters of entering need to be changed.

Vince: Yeah, good.

Greg: And then number 10 – bring the mentoring relationship to a close. Celebrate the completion of the journey. Have the mentoree write about the experience and what was accomplished.

Vince: Wow.

Greg: And that’s not only good for you, but it’s good for them.

Vince: Yeah.

Greg: Because they had to think through, “Alright, what did we accomplish?”

Vince: Yeah.

Greg: So that’s a mentoring contract. It may seem a lot, men. But trust me. When you put those boundaries and those parameters together, it makes the mentoring relationship much more meaningful, much more focused. And there’s some degree of reliability that it’s going to end well.

Vince: Right.

Greg: If you don’t do these things ahead of time – then unrealized expectations will raise their head – and there’ll be the disappointment because you didn’t clarify these things.

Vince: I think this is beautiful. And you’re kind of like me in this, Greg. It’s like if we have time, it’s very valuable to us, right? You and me. And people do come to you and I often.

Greg: Yeah.

Vince: I’m sure they come to you far more rapidly. And I know you’re mentoring people all over the country. When people come to you, you have to decide whether or not you really want to do that. Like you have to decide it, even me. And I – because my time is valuable, I want to invest in where I feel it’s going to be fruitful. Not only for me but for them, right?

Greg: I’ve got to share a quick story.

Vince: Yeah go for it.

Greg: Do we have some time?

Vince: Yeah, we do.

Greg: When I was trying to seek out J Robert Clinton – he prefers to be called “Bobby” to mentor – it was back in 1999. We were brought together at a leadership conference, to determine how we’re going to train leaders in the future. And I was one of 62 people there. And Bobby Clinton was there. And I’d read everything he had written. And I thought, “Boy, if I could just have this guy mentor me.”

And so over the course of the 3 days, he finally came up to me – based on conversation. And he said to me, he said, “I want you to do something for me.” He said, “I want you to get my book on Bible Centered Leadership, and complete a 300 question exam, and send me the results.” He didn’t say he was going to mentor me. But I wanted to be mentored. So I got his book, I filled it out. It was on your knowledge of the Bible, was what it was.

Vince: Oh wow.

Greg: So I sent in the results. He wrote back and said, “I’m going to give you a 100 question exam now on leaders of the Bible.” Then it was followed up with a 50 question exam on the geography of the Bible. What he was trying to do is determine where the start point was. I didn’t know it at the time, I was getting aggravated. So the fourth thing he did. He says, “I want you to put a–”

Vince: Sounds like the Karate Kid, man. I’m sorry.

Greg: “I want you to put together a Venn diagram of your giftedness. I couldn’t even spell “Venn” at the time.

Vince: Right, right.

Greg: So I got his book on how to do that.

Vince: Great.

Greg: And I sent it to him. And finally, I had enough courage. After I sent the results, I finally sent an email to him. And I said, “Are you going to mentor me or not?” He sent me a 1-word answer, “Yes.” And he’s been my mentor ever since. So don’t be thwarted men, by what some mentor might put you through. It is well worth it.

Vince: Yeah, I love that. I’m sorry, but that sounds exactly like the Karate Kid. But I love it. Because of really that story of Mr. Miyagi – and this kid who comes to him. It’s a story of mentorship, isn’t it?

Greg: That’s exactly right.

Vince: It’s a very simple story of a mentor driving a mentee toward greater performance. Sometimes asking and inviting him, or telling him to do things that are a little bit uncomfortable to himself – but in the end, make him better.

Greg: See that’s the key. If your mentor is not making it a little uncomfortable, they’re not doing their job.

Vince: Yeah, exactly. And I know – you’re a master at making people uncomfortable, Greg. And I know that that may come off to some listeners as like a little awkward. But it’s true. Greg really does have a very clear directional approach to life. And sometimes Greg, you push guys and you push me to think very prescriptively about where we want to go. And when you do that, it makes us a little uncomfortable. But it’s exactly sometimes what we need.

Greg: Yeah.

Vince: To push through the fears. Let me just say this, guys. I – you may need to listen to this podcast a couple of times. But I can’t agree more with Greg on the fact that you need to have some sort of professional contract between a mentor and a mentee – regardless of who you are. Sometimes the mentee is going to bring this into the relationship. That’s okay.

Greg: Yes.

Vince: Because defining the relationship and the parameters there is very important. So as we close our time today, let me read to all the listeners out there a verse. And I think it’s critical in this context. It’s from Proverbs 13, verse 20. “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” Greg thanks so much for being with us again today.

And that’s the show. Thanks for listening. As we close, I want to remind you that we have great content for your men’s groups. Excellent small group videos and participant handbooks that will empower the men of your church to lead – and equip them to build the men around them. You’ve got to check out our newest series. It’s entitled, “Defeating Repetitive Sin For Men.” Check it all out at beresolute.org, or you can just send me a direct email at info@beresolute.org. I’d love to speak with you guys.

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