Hello from Kathy Collard Miller, writing in the very hot desert near Palm Springs, California.
One of the many goals of mentoring is helping our mentee identify her motive for the choices she makes. She may not realize it but all of us react, respond, and choose based upon what we desire and want. Or what we think will prevent some kind of emotional pain, maybe even physical pain. Helping our mentee to recognize what can seem well-hidden is a challenge.
My husband and I are lay-counselors and as we try to help people make wise and godly choices, we’ve seen the most long-rang change when there has been a heart transformation, not just mental assent or gritting their teeth (metaphorically) to force obedience. Because we also received counseling and have been in relationships where we were mentored, we have appreciated the mentor or friend who asked questions that helped us identify our motives and what we hoped to gain when we made a particular choice.
If you’d like to help others discover why they “do what they do,” you don’t have to be a “formal” mentor. Even in casual friends friendships, you can inquire into their heart’s motives. Rather than encourage them to grit their teeth and vow to be better, we want them to have a deep spiritual change where their motives are based upon greater trust in God—not self-effort.
Asking questions rather than giving advice helps your mentee/friend to get in touch with their motivations. If we only give advice, our mentee could depend upon us for their power rather than having a heart for God. But the difficulty is thinking of the questions to ask.
Here Are Some Questions to Use During Mentoring
Here are some questions. These aren’t used in any order but can be used depending upon what the mentee is telling you. Then ask more questions based upon what the mentee replies.
What did the other person’s reaction seem to say about you?
What if you didn’t keep doing that? What do you fear would happen?
What is God inviting you into through allowing these circumstances?
What would you like to say to that person who hurt you?
Why do you believe that’s true when other people have told you it’s not?
What were you hoping or longing for?
What do you feel is lacking in your life?
What does that choice provide for you?
What were you saying about yourself during the time that hurtful thing happened?
How does your behavior leave out God in your life?
How does that behavior protect you from some kind of harm or pain?
Everything is a choice. Why are you choosing that destructive behavior: to gain something or protect yourself from something?
What does your choice say about who God is?
What does your behavior or choice indicate is your belief about God, life, or other people?
Learning to use these questions may take time. And asking them may not bring instant change to your mentee. But the mentee’s new sense of self-awareness can be used by the Holy Spirit to reveal wrongly-motivated thinking and choices. That kind of heart transformation will have long-range benefits.
(These thoughts have been adapted from Never Ever Be the Same: A New You Starts Today by Kathy Collard Miller and Larry Miller)