5 Rules I Follow When Meeting With A Mentor by Perry Noble

From *Perry Noble’s Blog (http://www.perrynoble.com) March 28, 2012

I originally posted this back in 2008…but I modified it just a tad and really thought it was necessary to share again…I have had the privilege of being mentored by some incredible leaders, some you would know, others you might not–but nonetheless, God has used them to teach me SO MUCH about life and ministry.Over the years I have developed five rules for meeting with a mentor that I would love to share here today…you may agree or disagree, all I know is that they have worked for me.

 #1 – I Always Adjust To Their Schedule–ALWAYS!

 When I am attempting to set up an appointment with someone I want to meet with–I always ask them (or their assistant) to throw two or three dates at me that is most convenient for them…and then I adjust my schedule to make the meeting happen.I NEVER send them the times I want and then ask them to adjust their schedules. I am the one who wants the meeting…and if they are available to me I will bend over backwards to hang out with them.

#2 – I Am Always Early For The Appointment

If I am driving from out of town I always make sure I arrive around 30 minutes early. If I get there TOO early then I will find a coffee shop–OR break out a book (ALWAYS have a book with you.)  AND…if I see I am going to be late because of traffic or unforeseen circumstance I always give them (or their assistant) a call informing them that I am on my way.  (I do this EVEN if I am going to be five minutes late–to me it’s simply a matter of respect.) Usually I will arrive at the person’s office to meet them about 15 minutes early…and quite a few times the person I am meeting with has been ready, thus giving me “bonus time!”

#3 – I Have A List Of At Least Five Questions That I Want To Ask.

I remember John Maxwell saying to me once, “I will mentor you, but you have to ask the questions. I am not preparing a lesson for you…YOU guide this meeting. If you want to know something–ASK. If you don’t ask anything then we don’t really have anything to talk about.” SO…anytime I meet with a mentor (especially JOHN) I am LOADED with questions. Sometimes I get them all answered…sometimes I don’t…but I NEVER walk into a meeting without having a list of what I would like to know.

#4 – I Don’t Talk About Myself Unless They Ask.

When I meet with a mentor I don’t spend 30 minutes telling them about myself, my daily routine, my philosophy of ministry and how good I think I am. I ask questions and then SHUT UP! If I disagree I do not argue; in fact, if I disagree with something I will usually ask them to explain their point of view a little more…which often times has helped me in SO many ways as I have learned that I really can love people even if we disagree!  If they ask me a question in regards to what I believe about certain things then I will answer…if not then I will keep on asking them my questions. They didn’t ask to meet with me…I wanted to meet with them–TO LEARN from them, not debate them.

#5 – I Always Send A Note/Gift Saying Thanks.

I haven’t done this until recently…but anytime someone gives me time I will send them a Starbucks gift card or a restaurant gift card–just to thank them for the time. (And I jot them about a four sentence note–NOT A BOOK, but a note.) Those are my rules…hope they help!

*Perry Noble is the Senior Pastor of NewSpring Church, located in Anderson, SC.

20 Questions to Ask in Getting to Know Your Mentoree/Disciple by Bobb Biehl

*(Adapted from Bobb Biehl, Mentoring, pp. 197-200)

1)    What do you see as your top three strengths in rank order?

2)    What ten specific measurable things do you want to get done before age 65?

3)    What do you consider your lifework?

4)    What are your three deepest personal needs which make you potentially vulnerable…morally, ethically or legally?

5)    Which three people threaten you most personally? Why?

6)    Who are the three people who are (or could be) your mentors/disciplers?

7)    Who are three people who could be your mentorees/disciples?

8)    What is your “preferred ideal hope-to-have-someday” title (president, doctor, teacher, friend, encourager, leader, etc.)?

9)    What three things would you most like to change about yourself if you could? Why?

10) What three things are you most committed to doing before you die?

11) What three things do you feel are your greatest roadblocks in your life at this point?

12) In what three areas would you most like to grow personally in the next one to five years?

13) What one to three things are keeping you from being as close to God as you would like?

14) How do you picture yourself in ten years, ideally?

15) What one subject would you most like to share from your heart of hearts that you have never been able to put into words?

16) What have been your life’s: a) Milestones? b) Traumas? c) Questions?

17) How would you describe your general style of leading?

18) How would you describe your relationship with each of your immediate family members when you were growing up?

19) What three relational bridges do you need/want to rebuild?

20) Who are your five closest friends? Why?

Bobb Biehl is an Executive Mentor. His personal dream is “Strengthening Christian Leaders Internationally”. In 1976, he founded Masterplanning Group International. As its president, he has consulted personally with over 500 clients. In that time, he has met one-to-one with over 5,000 executives (board members, senior executives, and staff members) and invested an estimated 50,000 hours in private sessions with some of the finest leaders of our generation. His clients are primarily: For-profit corporations; Government agencies; Large or fast-growing churches and Nonprofit organizations. Bobb is a proven “Behind the Scenes” leader. He consistently brings practical / proven insight to the process of Leading, Managing, and Living life. His experience is reflected in all of the practical proven tools available on this web site … each designed to make you an even stronger Christian leader.