Why Mentorship?

Why Whole-Life Mentoring?


Intentional…Deep-Change…Whole-Life…Transformational Mentoring


“I already have a mentor.”  “Why this?”  “How is it different?”  “Is this life coaching?”


At Leadership Design Group, we hear these questions often.  In our years working in mentoring, we find two common misunderstandings that prevent individuals from living into all the possibilities of their unique design.


“Isn’t This Life Coaching?”


Do you remember your high school football coach?  Or voice coach?  Or any person with which you have had a coaching relationship?  Coaches are experts.  They have—or should have—many years of experience in the activity at hand.  They know how to do it correctly; they know the common and uncommon errors.  Their purpose is to teach you the correct way to perform the activity and to rid you of poor technique or performance.  They know what you should do and their role is to help you to do it their way.  In many such relationships, the coach is the master strategist.  The coach plans the flow of the game and what the players’ roles will be.


Coaches can have a very important role in parts of our lives.  But coaching is not mentoring.  Mentors help you explore your own life and discover what it is that is holding you back—what is preventing you from living into all the possibilities of your design.  Positive Mentors are experienced, to be sure.  They may have walked paths that you have not walked.  Our role, though, is to help you explore, to help you discover and to help you see the change needed in your life.  Mentors do not direct or order one action over another.  They certainly do not set the strategy for your life.  Mentors help individuals and teams become self-directing and self-ordering in life-giving ways.  This is what we mean by deep-change and transformational mentoring.


“I Already Have a Mentor at Work.”


Thousands and thousands of mentoring programs and approaches exist.  The practice is in increasing demand in our world today.  Most commonly, we find “mentors” in specific areas, some of whom are really coaching.


Think of mentors or mentoring programs you have known.  Mentoring is common at work or in businesses.  These mentors are focused on helping their protégée develop or perform at a higher level, usually in a particular and limited area of life.  Business mentors help you become better in your vocation.  A popular TV show “The Voice” has mentors who help contestants become better singers and performers.


There is, of course, nothing wrong with mentors for portions of our lives.  In whole-life mentoring, we sometimes refer people to others who can help them more deeply in one particular area of life than we might be able to as their primary mentor.


Whole-life mentoring is quite different.  The most effective mentors help individuals and teams explore, discover and change in every area of our 8-dimensional lives.  Since we are full-dimensional people, any but a whole-life approach will neglect some area where we are not experiencing the fullness of what life could be.  We are not living into all the possibilities of our unique design.


This is what we mean by intentional, whole-life mentoring.


Reactions and responses from the experience of Whole-Life Mentoring:

“Wes’ commitment to listen and reflect back with clarity what he heard, allowed me to struggle through some issues and come out on the other side with a fresh perspective and new insights into my own abilities and the encouragement to persevere. Each meeting we share is an awakening, a conversation of ministry issues, and time to reconnect with my own spiritual journey. There are certainly many times when I question why Wes spends his precious time and talent on a simple pastor from West Virginia, but I’m grateful for all the time we’ve spent together and know that through his mentoring I’ve grown in way I didn’t think possible. I pray that God will continue to use Wes to encourage, energize and empower new leaders around the country who are still struggling with ministry, burnout and longing for some support and encouragement. Because I now know what a difference a mentor/friend makes.”

Pastor and Denominational Leader, West Virginia

“In the five years that I have journeyed with Wes I find him to be a remarkably informed, kind, and guiding presence in my life that has been crucial at key stages of my development as a Senior Pastor and civic leader in Downtown Minneapolis, MN. His whole life mentoring process along with meaningful and ongoing personal contact have provided timely and transformational conversations. Every pastor needs a pastor. I am grateful for the unique and immeasurable gift of Wes, my pastor.”

Civic Leader and Pastor, Minnesota

“Don’t tell me what to do or what you know, because I live in a different world. Instead, share with me the stories of why you’ve done what you’ve done and how it has changed you because my path will remind you of yours. Ask me what I haven’t thought of, or what I can’t answer, and in this way draw out what I wasn’t sure was in me. Encourage me to keep stepping out, especially when I can’t see the ground beneath me, because I can’t go this way alone. In my uncertain and every-changing world, Wes has been a guide helping me find my way, a watchman urging me to lead from within, and most importantly a companion who has given me the courage to keep stepping out. He is exactly the kind f sage, the crazy old man, so many men and women desperately need. His wisdom, his encouragement, and his care have indelibly shaped my life and for that I am extremely grateful.”

Non-profit Community Leader, Texas

“It’d be tough to place a value on the deepening friendship I have with Wes and the time we spend together. When I think of the folks I’ve spent time with so far this week– a 15 year old Somalian/Muslim former refugee, a 27 year old young professional, 2 leaders of an inner-city ministry to the poor, a young Denver pastor that I went to seminary with, a 30 yr old church planter– all are relationships in which ideas like the “Circle of Life”, the “relational chain”, the “developing and calling out of God’s design” is having impact that reverberates for miles and miles beyond the intended target. Wes’s ability to see beyond my exterior with its smudges and stains and his patience to wait and listen for and sometimes verbally acknowledge the wildness and goodness of my heart impacts the way I live, reflect, and relate to others. And that has ongoing impact that I’m certain reaches beyond what I’m capable of recognizing.”

Inner City Ministry Leader, Colorado

“I am deeply thankful for you. Your burden, heart, commitment, and sincerity to your Mentees encourage this burdened soul. The very world is forever altered by your compassion and actions. Getting to know you, it has become apparent that God put that in you and He is enabling you to live out the good work that He planned for you long ago. Wes, I know that my very world is forever altered because of our meeting in the mountains.”

Business Owner, Alabama