I finished a great book today. The book is entitled Mentoring: The Promise of Relational Leadership by Walter Wright. Wright is the former President of Regent College and is presently the Executive Director of the DePree Leadership Center at Fuller Theological Seminary. The book is a great read, and my copy has now been marked with my yellow highlighter.
I first heard of Wright a few summers ago. I was taking a summer class at Regent College and he was teaching another class during the same session. One evening he hosted a special session on "Leadership" for anyone who wanted to come. That evening was probably one of the highlights of my trip. He was unassuming, practical, and a good thinker. He showed a film illustrating some of the dilemmas of leadership. The discussion following the film and his keen observations were very good.
In this book, Mentoring, Wright shares much practical advice regarding the role of the mentor and the role of the one being mentored. One of the most helpful aspects of the book are his observations regarding different individuals who mentored him. He also discusses what he has done with those he has mentored.
I have been blessed by several people who have had a significant role in mentoring me (though I don’t recall ever using that word with any of these people). I have also been blessed to be a part of two of Lynn Anderson’s mentoring groups, which encouraged me in a number of ways. As I was reading this book, I thought about some of the people I have had a part in mentoring (though, again, I don’t know that we ever used that word to describe the relationship).
Note this paragraph that reflects the author’s view of mentoring:
"… Leadership is a relationship — a relationship of influence. It is an investment of ourselves in others to influence their vision, values, behaviors, or actions. Leaders exist to serve the people who look to them for leadership, to help the followers realize their potential so that they may successfully contribute to the mission that brings leader and follower together. Leadership is not about the leader. Mentoring is not about the mentor. It is about the people served.
(Wright, Mentoring, p. xxviii)
As you think about those who have mentored you, what names come to mind? What is one thing you learned from a mentor?