youth worker, youth ministry, mentoring

How to lead a quality mentoring session

By Doug Franklin April 2, 2009

A while ago I was having breakfast with my friend Mac Lake. Mac is the Pastor of Leadership at Seacoast Church, in Charleston, South Carolina. Mac and I were talking about how to organize a quality mentoring session.  We were discussing a simple way for a mentor to walk a mentee through a comfortable conversation. So often those of us in ministry get into a mentoring relationship and we don’t know what to say. Mac developed this five P question plan and he is allowing me to share with you.

1.    Question 1 – Personal
“What is happening in your life?”
Start the mentoring sessions by talking about how the mentee is doing. What is happening in his/her life? How do they feel and what are their concerns. This will allow the mentor and mentee to connect and build community. This could also remind them of the things they talked about the week before. This is an important time for building trust.

2.    Question 2 – Priority
“What is most important to you right now?”
What are the priorities and goals of the mentee for the week? Priorities give insight into the values of the mentee. They give the mentor good opportunities to ask follow-up questions and to dig deeper into the mentee life.  The answers to these questions will give the mentor indication of how the mentee needs to grow in their walk with Christ.

3.    Question 3 – Problems
“What can I help you with?”
The question the mentor wants to ask is “what problems are you facing and how can I help?” This question gives the mentee the opportunity to ask for help or seek advice. Often times the mentee comes to the mentoring sessions with questions and needs certain issues’ addressed in their lives. You as a mentor can fulfill that need by asking probing questions about the problems they are facing.

4.    Question 4 – Plan
“What is your plan to reach your goals?”
This question is designed to help the mentee summarize what you discussed in the meeting. Usually in meetings like this you come up with good ideas, action steps and follow up items.  But most of the time the two walk away and the mentee does not follow up.  So this PLAN time is used to summarize the action steps the mentee will take as a result of the meeting time.  Example:  I will call Joe to set up a lunch, I will read chapter 2 of that book, I will take three students bowling this week to build a relationship, etc.   Knowing that the mentor will hold them accountable, the mentee is more likely to carry out the plan.  By following through they will experience growth.

5.    Question 5 – Pray
“How can I pray for you?”
Before praying together, take some time to share weakness as well as areas of life that need accountability. Then pray together. There is no better way to carry each other’s burdens then to pray with and for each other. Pray through the priorities, problems and plans of the mentee. Draw near to God and have Him draw need to the both of you. Don’t just end your time in prayer like it’s a check list item. Really be intentional in your prayer for each other. This is a scared time. Be aware that God makes us for community so we can share in each other’s struggles.

If you are in a leadership position you have the responsibility of mentoring your followers.  Most effective leaders have a long line of potential mentees waiting at their door.  Be proactive and create a plan to work with these individuals, then initiate a relationship with them. Don’t let not knowing what to say be your excuse. Think through how these five P’s could help you in your leadership. By creating a powerful mentoring plan you can ensure that your leadership legacy will stand the test of time in the lives of those you develop.

Mac Lake is the Pastor of Leadership at Sea Coast Church in Charleston, South Carolina and blogs at www.maclakeonline.com check it out

About the Author

Doug Franklin

Doug Franklin is the president of LeaderTreks, an innovative leadership development organization focusing on students and youth workers. Doug and his wife, Angie, live in West Chicago, Illinois. They don’t have any kids, but they have 2 dogs that think they are children. Diesel and Penelope are Weimaraners  who never leave their side. Doug grew up in…  Read More