Many men look for mentors without considering what type of mentor might be best. Discover the different types of mentors and what they provide.
Not every mentor will fulfill every need you have as there are different mentors for different occasions and seasons of life. 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 types of mentors that men may be looking for and the benefits of each.
Vince: This is Resolute and the Resolute Leadership Podcast. I’m Vince Miller, your founder, and host. And today we’re in a series on mentorship. Discussing today the topic of the types of mentoring relationships.
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 oonin 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: So today we’re going to get into some pragmatics on mentorship. Last time we talked about just the purpose behind why mentoring – some of the general obstacles. And pushing through the fear. But today I really want to help men to understand what a framework for mentorship looks like. But let’s begin with some standard questions. You’ve been mentoring guys for 42 years.
Greg: Mmm hmm.
Vince: Man, that’s a long time. You only look like you’re about 25. So 42 years of mentoring. And I’ve got to tell you – guys, just so you know – Greg is a fantastic mentor. But you’re very selective in what you do.
Vince: And I’ve learned some great lessons from you on what kind of qualities we really should be looking for in a mentor, and in a mentee, right?
Vince: So there’s both.
Vince: Maybe take a few minutes to describe first, Greg – just the qualities of a great mentor. What are we looking for there?
Greg: A mentor is– A good mentor, an effective mentor is one who will be honest with you. There– If there are things that they offer, a mentoring process that will help you become who God’s wired you or called you to be. It’s things like availability. Are they available? But there’s got to be boundaries around that ability.
Greg: Will they go ahead and be confidential about what’s discussed? Or is it going to appear in their next book or in a pulpit somewhere?
Vince: Or on a radio program.
Greg: Honesty is– That’s right. Honesty is another thing. I mean– You just can’t keep telling people what they want to hear, you tell them what they need to hear. Accountability is absolutely crucial. A good mentor will hold you accountable. A good mentor knows how to set boundaries. They might even be specific enough about telling you when they’re available to you, and when they’re not. And they have a capacity to be able to assess who you are and how you’re – God has wired you to be. Either informally or formally.
So a good mentor, more simply is available. They maintain confidentiality. They’ll be honest with you. They’ll hold you accountable. They know how to set boundaries. And they’re effective at assessing the relationship and you as a mentoree. Now when it comes to a mentoree, the mentoree has something to contribute to the process too.
Vince: Oh yeah.
Vince: Oh yeah.
Greg: A good mentoree, it says in scripture in Hebrew’s chapter 13. “Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their fate. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” So
Greg: A good mentoree, it says in scripture in Hebrew’s chapter 13. “Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their fate. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” So here’s – what that speaks to, it almost seems incongruous one part of the verse from the next. But it talks about consistency. It talks about congruent.
So what does a mentor– A mentoree bring to the mentoring process? Well are they easy to believe in? Or do you have to ask them 20 questions to get at the heart of what they’re really saying or thinking? Are they easy to like and spend time with, frankly?
Vince: Yeah, yeah.
Greg: Are they easy to keep helping?
Greg: Do they put into practice what you asked them to do? A good mentor will not give you busy work. He’ll give you tailored work.
Vince: That’s good.
Greg: But he’ll expect you to go ahead and respond to that. So are you easy to help? So if you want to make it more simple. A good mentoree is responsive.
Greg: They’re honest.
Greg: They’re candid, really.
Vince: Right, yeah sure.
Greg: They’re vulnerable. They’re willing to be held accountable. They are committed to the process. And they are teachable.
Vince: Oh yeah. Two really strong lists. Because wouldn’t you say, Greg – that sometimes we get into mentor and mentee relationships, and we never define the relationship.
Vince: So these are just relationship defining moments, where we say, “Here’s what you want, here’s what I want. Let’s agree upon these things. I’m looking for that.” And I wonder if just developing a framework like this for relationship, leads to a lot better success during the time that we’re together?
Greg: Well the only time you’re guaranteed 100% accuracy is when you shoot at nothing. You’re going to hit it.
Vince: Love it.
Greg: So the idea is, you really got to be specific about what you’re going to be trying to accomplish. One of the things that I always ask a mentoree, “What will represent success at the end of our relationship to you?”
Vince: That’s good.
Greg: “What are your expectations?”
Greg: “What do you hope to accomplish in the process?”
Vince: So maybe just–
Greg: “What do you intend to do with what you’ve learnt?”
Vince: Ooh, that’s good. I like that. And that helps– I would say – if you’re sitting down with someone, whether it’s a mentee or a mentor – it’s really getting clear about what you want to accomplish, right? I think guys specifically, when we’re talking – I want you to know, is Greg and I talk here. Of course we’re talking about mentorship in general. But there’s also the specific relation to our spiritual life that you and I are talking about, right?
Vince: And I don’t think we get specific about that enough, Greg. When it comes to where do we want to go spiritually, guys don’t set enough goals spiritually.
Vince: We don’t drive toward a clear, spiritual future. And before we just sit down and we say, “You seem like a cool guy,” right?
Vince: Maybe we should both sit down – the mentor and the mentee, and deliberate, discuss.
Vince: Figure out where we want to go, set the time frames – and say, “Here’s who I want to be at the end of this process, and here’s who you want to be.”
Greg: You give a great gift to a potential mentor when you’re able to say to them, “Here’s what my need is. Would you engage with me for a specific period of time?”
Greg: “Let’s say 3 months. And we’ll work out the details, but here’s where I need help.” What you’ve just done is told that mentor, “Oh good, I’m not going to be chained to them for life. And I’ll be able to – there’s an out if we both need to be out of the relationship.” But the best thing you can do if – if you’re thinking men, about being mentored – you need to ask yourselves 4 questions. So that you can come to that mentor with some clarity about what you need to be mentored in. Here are the questions.
“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?” And, “What am I not doing now, I need to start doing?” Keep, change, stop and start. That will give you the framework. Because they’re neutral questions. But they compel you to go ahead and get more specific about what your needs are.
Now when I talk to potential mentorees, I generally ask them. I say, “Is this spiritual discipline need? Is this a leadership need? Is this a relational need? Are you concerned about a self-management issue? Are you concerned about life mangement?” Or, “Are you looking to build foundations into your life?” And so the idea is, is that – I give them a whole list. I actually give them a charter, what falls under each of those.
Greg: While they’re deliberating to– If they can’t articulate with any clarity or focus, then I try to help them. And I said, “I want you to come back to me after you’ve given some thought to these 4 questions in these areas. And then we’ll go ahead and talk about what the parameters of the mentorship look like.” Now one other thing I want to say – and kind of a – stepping back a little bit. Is a mentor – there are different types of mentors.
Vince: Yeah, yeah, explain that.
Greg: Knowing what type of mentor you need at what point in your life, is going to be absolutely essential to select the right person to ask. So let me give you some categories for that.
Vince: That’d be great.
Greg: Alright, first of all – there are intensive mentors. These intensive mentors are part of a formal process that’s pretty well laid out and organized. And the purpose of an intensive mentor is to build foundations into your life. Like for instance, a discipler or a spiritual guide or a coach would be a form of an intensive mentor. So they’re going to engage you for a season, take you through a process or a journey that will build a foundation into your life.
The second type of– Or the second category of mentors are occasional mentors. Occasional mentors are more non-formal. In other words, it’s not as regimented, because they’re going to be adjusting their mentorship of you based on your needs. So if an intensive mentor’s primary focus if foundations – an occasional mentor is based on your needs. Now the needs can be a correction, or the needs can be a prescription for how to do something. It might include things like– An example of an occasional mentor might be a counselor.
Vince: Yeah, sure.
Greg: That will help you through a rough patch.
Vince: That’s good.
Greg: Or they’ll help you solve an intractable problem. Or they’ll help you get unstuck. Or it might be a teacher that’s going to teach you a new skill, a new competency, a new understanding, a new strategy, a new methodology, a new practice, a new procedure. Or it could be a sponsor. Somebody is going to introduce you to the right people, or give you ideas who to contact–
Vince: There you go.
Greg: Or to maybe write a reference or a recommendation, or to give you some kind of idea about what the road ahead looks – if you want to go from here to there.
Greg: So intensive mentor is about foundations. Occasional mentor is about needs.
Greg: Then you have what many people forget, and will actually underscore why somebody could have anywhere from 10 to 15 mentors. Most guys out there probably think, “10 to 15? I can’t even find one. What do you mean, 10 to 15?” Well we take into consideration that at various stages in our life, you need an intensive mentor.
Greg: Other times you need an occasional mentor. But the third category is what we forget. They’re called passive mentors.
Greg: Now a passive mentor is very informal. You probably have never met this person. You may have admired them from afar. It may be a speaker that speaks to your soul. It may be a writer. That every time you pick up something that they’ve written, God feeds your soul. It may be somebody who’s already passed away, and has left a recording or something that is – been – will be instrumental in helping you get over that next step.
But the 3 types of passive mentors are either a contemporary model. Somebody who’s living – is a living model for life in ministry. Or you might be exposed to their teaching. Erwin is a passive mentor for a lot of people.
Greg: That never had a chance to meet him.
Greg: But when then read his books, or they listen to his talks–
Greg: Then somehow God speaks to their soul. Then you have a historical mentor. And I mean, they may be deceased, but they still have relevance. I have a passive mentor by the name of Ant Savinar 12:53 that died in 1986. I still remember some of the poignant things he had said. He said, “If you’re 95% faithful, you’re not faithful at all.” And he talks about the whole idea – smorgasbord Christianity. Where you go along the line and pick what you want and leave the rest. But these little snippets, these pithy little statements have stuck with me.
Greg: And all of his books, I’ve – they’re out of print, and I’ve sought them out. But he’s a passive mentor to me.
Greg: The third type of passive mentor is a divine contact. Now a divine contact is a person or a word or a circumstance using to confirm God’s direction in your life. That somebody comes into your life – maybe even forgot who they were, and you don’t even understand the import–
Greg: Of what they had to say, until well after the fact. And so they are a divine contact that you didn’t plan on. It’s a word you might have heard in a pulpit. It might be somebody sang something to you in passing that – didn’t even understand the import of what they said to you. But it registered with your soul. That’s a divine contact. God sends those type of people to you.
Vince: I love that you’ve defined a lot of this today. And guys, I hope you’re blessed by the amount of sheer wisdom that Greg has just shared with you. But I’ve got to say Greg, this helps us all to frame up a context of what a relationship looks like. What should happen inside of that relationship. And even the types of things that we should be looking for in those people. Because I got to tell you, mentorship is the linchpin to the kingdom. I mean I – one of my– I was–
I’m reading through the Bible, of course. And I say this every time. But I’m reading through the Bible, of course, today. I’m reading through Acts. And I’m reading the story of perhaps the most famous mentor of all times. He often goes unremembered by many people, but I believe the greatest mentor in all the Bible – besides Jesus Christ, is Barnabas.
Greg: Exactly right, yeah.
Vince: I mean you think about this guy. Barnabas took under his wing the most incredulous guy that was out there, Saul. He was a little grumpy, he was persecuting the church clearly. He made a decision for Christ. Because he met Christ visibly and clearly. But Barnabas did something that no other mentor ever did. He took on someone who might take his life, and he turned him into the greatest teacher in all of the New Testament. I mean think about that.
Greg: Well there’s – there’s so many examples in the Bible about mentoring that isn’t called mentoring, but is exactly mentoring. Let me give you just a few brief examples.
Vince: Yeah go for it, I want to hear it, yeah.
Greg: Jethro mentored Moses.
Vince: Of course.
Greg: He became a counselor to him. Moses mentored Joshua. He was a spiritual guide, a counselor. He was a contemporary model, as we’ve just talked about. He was a sponsor.
Vince: Yeah, he was a–
Greg: He certainly sponsored Joshua.
Greg: Then you have Jonathan and David. They were peer mentors. They each had something to add to the mentoring relationship. David and Solomon. David was a contemporary model, he was a counselor. He sponsored Solomon. You have Elijah and Elisha.
Greg: That’s a mentoring relat– Jesus – with Peter, James and John.
Greg: You have Barnabas, as you just mentioned–
Greg: With Paul. You have Paul with Timothy.
Greg: He was a discipler of Timothy. You have Paul with Titus, for crying out loud.
Greg: You have Paul with Onesimus. And so there are just all kinds of examples of types of mentors. When you finally start to get your handle on that framework we just described about intensive, occasional and passive – not only does it help you understand what type of mentor you may need at this particular point in your life. But be able to recognize that person.
Greg: And have the courage again to lean into your fear–
Greg: Seek them out, and sit down with them.
Vince: Yeah, that’s right. I want to end right there Greg. ‘Cause that’s too good. And I just want you guys out there right now to hear Greg’s words today. Let me sum it up this way. Don’t go life alone. If you think you can go this life alone, you are mistaken. God has created you to be in relationship with other people. Live out your fullest potential by producing, by putting yourself in a mentorship relationship. And if you’re not in one, you need to find one today. But find it an appropriate one, right?
Vince: And there may be more of those guys out there than you think.
Greg: Yeah there are.
Vince: Step into it. And if you are not mentoring somebody – Greg, right?
Vince: We need more men that are doing the things that we’re doing.
Greg: That’s right.
Vince: Join us. Mentor someone today. Even if it feels uncomfortable, step into it. And maybe take some of the tactics you learned from Greg today and apply them. Just simple tactics that you can apply to everyday life. Thank you Greg, so much for being with us again.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to speak with you guys.
And as always, I hope you enjoy this podcast. But please know that the time that we spent together today is worthless, unless you choose to do something with it. So act on it. Do something right now today. By getting off the bench, and into the game. And I’ll see you right back here next time for another edition of the Resolute Podcast.