I had a certain mindset as I coached. When I started coaching in the NFL, I learned a few intentional principles that I tried to live by throughout my professional football career.
This way of life for me opened up a comfort factor between the man and myself. I could talk to a guy about anything because we shared a close relationship. He knew I cared for him, not just as an athlete, but as a man. Here are 5 principles for mentoring men.
5 Principles for Mentoring Men
#1 You may not be looking for a dad, but I’m going to treat you like you’re my son.
#2 The power of respect is to never disrespect.
I never cared if the men I coached were 10 years old or veteran athletes making millions of dollars, I would always tell my players, “I will never disrespect you. I will never call you out of your name. I will never do anything where you will feel disrespected.”
Now, I could coach a guy hard—in the right way—but I never disrespected a man. Over time, this instilled trust in the guys I coached.
#3 The As-If Principle
If you become important to someone’s life and they trust you, then they’ll try to be what you want them to be.
Let me explain, the As-If principle goes like this: if you treat a person the way they are that’s the way they’ll stay. If you treat a person the way you want them to be, that’s what they’ll try to become.
#4 Men don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
#5 Being transparent matters.
Share your scars. You have to be open and honest. Share your battle wounds. Share your defeats and failures. You have to make yourself vulnerable when it comes to talking to your players. You must live the gospel before them.
Titus 2:6-7 says,
“…in everything. Make yourself an example of good works with integrity and dignity in your teaching. 8 Your message is to be sound beyond reproach, so that any opponent will be ashamed, because he doesn’t have anything bad to say about us.”
Set an example by doing what is good in your teaching, coaching, and mentoring. Show integrity and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned—so that those who oppose you will be ashamed because they have nothing evil to say about you.
Imagine someone saying something negative about you to another person, and that other person who hears this news—has to think long and hard—or simply does not believe it—because it’s not how you live as a lifestyle. That’s what makes you a good leader and mentor, living in such a way that it doesn’t make sense for someone to speak ill of you.
If you mentor with these five principles, not only will you shape the men around you, you’ll point them to the God who they need to imitate.