Passing The Mantle: What the story of Elijah and Elisha Says About The Power of Mentorship
“THE LORD SAID TO HIM, ‘GO RETURN ON YOUR WAY TO THE WILDERNESS OF DAMASCUS, AND WHEN YOU HAVE ARRIVED, YOU SHALL ANOINT HAZAEL KING OVER ARAM; AND JEHU THE SON OF NIMSHI YOU SHALL ANOINT KING OVER ISRAEL; AND ELISHA THE SON OF SHAPHAT OF ABEL-MEHOLAH YOU SHALL ANOINT AS PROPHET IN YOUR PLACE.” (I KINGS 19:15-16)
What is your definition of mentorship? Most people define mentorship as a one on one coaching relationship with someone that is usually older. The problem with this viewpoint is that it creates a narrow definition of what mentoring really is. Mentoring should be viewed as a two way street; if you find a person that is willing to provide you with special guidance and career advice, you must make sure that the relationship bears fruit for both individuals.
In the book of 1 Kings we read about the story of Elijah and Elisha. Two warrior prophets who performed awe inspiring miracles with the help of The Holy Ghost. Elijah was already a prophet when he was sent by the Lord to choose Elisha as his successor. When Elijah sought out Elisha, the younger man did not even question that he was to follow his new mentor. Instead, he only asked to be able to say goodbye to his parents.
In this scenario, Elijah was used by the Lord to call Elisha to become a prophet. This same concept can apply to the power of mentorship today. Bishop Shammah Womack-El says, "Often, mentors have the ability to lead their mentees down the right path, whether it is in a career, in their personal life, or in their faith."
People who serve as leaders or teachers have a very important job then. If they guide their mentees on the wrong path, the result could be negative. However, if they, instead, help their mentees see what their “calling” actually is, then they will have done their job and the outcome could be very positive.
Navigating the corporate world can be a tough climate professionally but finding an outstanding mentor can make a world of difference. Some characteristics of a good mentor include a person that is professional and kind; yet having unwavering and high expectations of your success. In addition the potential mentor should have and be able to maintain a gentle approach, having an incredible work ethic as well as strong values. It is not uncommon to find a potential mentor that is still pursuing his or her dreams and goals; in fact this is how you can mutually help one another from mentor to mentee.
Here are a few steps to realizing and finding a perfectly matched mentor and optimizing the relationship so that both mentor and mentee can cultivate and advance one another.
1) Decide whether you want a Mentor or a Coach- A true mentor may be difficult to find; however it’s not impossible. If you have a Mentor in mind, start by building a relationship—similar to the way you would with anyone else. Don’t lead with “Will you be my mentor?” (That’s the equivalent of asking someone to marry you on the first date.) Instead, get to know them. Look for opportunities to be generous. Start small and see where it goes. If you are willing to pay for a mentor, a coach is another great option. While you may think you can’t afford one, I would challenge you to investigate it before dismissing it. If a coach helps you seize one opportunity, optimize your productivity, or avoid one fatal mistake, it will pay for itself many times over.
2) Show Vulnerability- Allow your mentor to see your best and worst. Without openness, your mentor won't be able to help you. Being open shows you are ready to learn things you didn’t expect.
3) Invest in yourself- Spend time taking courses and attending conferences. You will gain in-depth instruction that will help you in transforming more quickly. Podcasts and blogs offer a wealth of information on almost any subject for free. And remember there is no greater value than that of a relevant and well written book.
4) Show Gratitude and Respect- A sense of entitlement is not an attractive quality for a person to have. In realizing this, please know that someone willing to help you for no material gain is seldom and should be cherished. Find ways to give back. Celebrate their achievements and milestones, encourage them, and continually esteem and remind them that you are grateful for their guidance.
(Luke 16:10). Until you have taken advantage of mentoring , you are probably cheating yourself by not doing what you can to learn and grow more substantially .
Photo Credits: Relevant Magazine.
Excerpt By: Bishop Shammah Womack-El