Peter Drucker’s 9 Functions of a Mentor

I don’t care who you are or what you do. Be a mentor. Have a mentor.

Don’t worry if you don’t understand mentoring. Just go engage in one of the nine behaviors that follow.

drucker quote

9 functions of a mentor:

  1. “Define the landscape.” Focus on details to get things done – see the landscape to plot a course. Mentors are fresh eyes.
  2. “Expose ‘white space’ – define opportunities – what is needed now.” Passion disconnected from meeting needs is wasted. Sincerity is not enough.
  3. “Clarify strengths and capacities.” Tapping untapped strengths represents new directions, deeper fulfillment, and greater fruitfulness.
  4. “Identify incorrect assumptions.” Listen for limiting beliefs.
  5. “Encouragement to ‘go for it.’” Great mentors inspire action. Dreaming big is only a beginning. Dreams without action drain vitality and affirm helplessness.
  6. “Help sort out the right strategies.” Mentors bring strategic thinking to your personal strengths and individual passions.
  7. “Affirm results.” Success creates focus, fuels motivation, and confirms direction.
  8. “Point out wasted effort.” Stopping is harder than starting. One the most challenging lessons in leadership is learning that trying harder doesn’t work, if you’re stuck. Mentors point out spinning wheels and flying mud.
  9. Establish “gentle accountability.” Accountability in mentoring relationships is an agreement. It’s not imposed by dictatorial mentors.

(The 9 functions of a mentor are adapted from, “Drucker & Me,” by Bob Buford. Drucker did not list these 9 functions. They emerged in the mentoring relationship.)


There is someone in your circle who needs you now. Don’t wait for permission, go mentor them.  Just do it. Perhaps they’re spinning their wheels or unaware of their strengths.

Stop waiting for a mentor. Go be one.

Consider an approach that suits them and go expand their world. Your efforts will enrich both of you.

What mentoring tips can you offer?

The book:

I highly recommend, “Drucker & Me,” It’s a personal look into a lifelong relationship between Bob Buford and Peter Drucker. It’s a leadership book with heart.

In addition, church leaders will enjoy the large sections of this book that are relevant to their work.