Mentoring Leaders Part 1: Talk

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It’s important for new leaders to see the desired behavior modeled for them. It’s always easy to TELL someone what you expect. It’s powerful to show them. It’s even MORE powerful to have them watch tame after time after time.

Before I served as President for a local chapter of Business & Professional Women’s Clubs, I was elected 1st Vice President. My whole job for that term was to shadow the President, learning all I could before following her into office. Yes, there was material for me to read. There were workshops & training for me to attend. Yet the best lessons I learned were from watching our chapter President. Jesus used this very same technique with His disciples with great results.

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Jesus always took the disciples with Him when He spoke before crowds. The disciples had the opportunity to see Jesus interact with people, watch His speaking techniques. They even had a chance to study acoustics. When a large crowd showed up to hear Jesus one time, He went out in a boat away from the shore a bit. The sound traveled better over the water, enabling the crowd to hear everything He had to say.

The disciples also watched Jesus when He talked with individuals. A large part of ministry is listening. Jesus always gave His time & attention to people when He was in conversation with them. The disciples had a chance to watch this interaction time & again.

So today’s lesson is simple: book learning is great. Training is wonderful. However, the best way to mentor leaders is to let them watch other leaders, like you, in action!

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Mentoring Leaders Introduction


Jesus was a leader & a mentor. In fact, He was a great trainer & mentor. He took an eclectic group of men & trained them, not only to continue the ministry He began but develop it into a long lasting, thriving organization that continues today. This was not easy. The group was not just eclectic, they were, well, let’s just say most of them were not the ones you would pick if you were creating a world changing organization!

As a leader, Jesus set an example for His disciples, modeling the behavior He want them to copy. As a mentor, He encouraged them to test the skills He taught them, then worked with them to strengthen those skills & make them even better.

You don’t have to be a Christian to appreciate the leadership & mentoring skills of Jesus. Business books have been written, sharing insights into His abilities & offering ways to incorporating those skills into the business world.

While leadership training & development have been hot topics in recent years, mentoring has been largely ignored. This is a major mistake. A leader can’t be fully developed simply through leadership training. Practical experience must be coupled with training. In order for that experience to be most effective, a mentor needs to walk beside the developing leader, offering advice & encouragement along the way. 

Unfortunately, a new leader is usually given the training & then sent out to perform, learning over a long period of time by trial & error. For many new leaders, the only mentoring they receive is in the form of discipline when they make the inevitable mistakes. 

This situation is even worse for the volunteer leader in the church or organization. In business, there is at least SOME training & guidance. Volunteers are simply given the materials that have been passed down from one leader to the next, patted on the back & told half heartedly, “If you need anything, call me!” They never call. They never know what to ask or how to begin or how this could happen to them. For this reason, many churches have a hard time recruiting leaders & an even harder time keeping them. 

In this series, I’m sharing 5 simple steps to use when mentoring new leaders. They don’t take much time, they just take follow-up & consistency. I developed these steps by studying the method Jesus used to prepare the disciples for leadership. Not all the men He chose as His disciples were born leaders. Jesus trained them & mentored them during their time together, creating leaders that went on to begin & build a thriving organization. 

Have you been mentored or mentored someone else? How was the experience for you? Do you have questions about mentoring? Share them with us in the comments. 

Training & mentoring leaders is the way to empower your organization & ensure the continuation of your programs. It is worth all the time & effort you put into the process considering all the benefits you reap!