Book Review – Tim Elmore’s “Mentoring: How to Invest Your Life in Others”

Tim Elmore shares, “Mentoring is a relational experience through which one person empowers another by sharing God-given resources” (16).  I chose this book because I wanted to better clarify my understanding of mentoring versus coaching.  During my time in the doctor of ministry program at Regent I have realized the importance of coaching in pastoral ministry.  Though the two are significantly different, as I pursue building my coaching skills I also desire to invest in the life of others through mentoring.  Elmore’s view of mentoring complements the co-active coaching paradigm.  He presents the Greek model of mentoring, following the formal academic, passive, theoretical classroom, as less effective than the Hebrew model.  The Hebrew model which Elmore advocates is relational, experiential, and provides on-the-job training.  This model Elmore claims is a coaching model (20).  Jesus was relational and he empowered his disciples.  As God is at work in the coaching relationship the outcome is positive for both the coach and client.  As God is at work in the mentoring relationship there can be a loss of power from the mentor as he or she gives power to the one being mentored (empowerment).  Elmore categorizes coaching in the mentorship process.  He shares there are seven kinds of mentors:

  • Discipler – Helping with the basics of following Christ.
  • Spiritual guide – Accountability, direction/insight for maturation.
  • Coach – Motivation, skills needed to meet a task/challenge.
  • Counselor – Timely advise, perspective on self, others, ministry.
  • Teacher – Knowledge, understanding on a specific subject.
  • Sponsor – Career guidance, protection; network with contacts.
  • Model – A living personal example for life, ministry, career.

According to Elmore, “The bottom line is: we need different kinds of mentors at different stages of life” (99).  This is a great book for pastoral leadership.

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