When Did Mentoring Cost Money

Kyle Reed // @kylereed

Why does everything cost money? I mean seriously, why do I have to pay for things that I am interested in? Most would say that everything costs money because it places a value on the product you are receiving. I am much more willing to take care of my TV that I paid a lot of money for then I am to take care of the 1980’s TV my parents gave me. It is just natural to take care of things that we have paid a heavy price for. What concerns me is that we take this idea to the extreme in the services that we offer. Paying for something does NOT always give it more value.

The most recent trend amongst leaders is belonging to a coaching network. This coach usually has some kind of expertise that is offered and he/she provides a program that helps you reach your potential. Coaching is another glorified word for mentoring. Where coaching takes on a different aspect is that it costs money. The belief is that you pay for the chance to learn from high impact leaders and coaches that will teach you. As well, you get a chance to be mentored by a well known and highly respected leader. To be honest, I have looked into applying for these coaching networks. What always stopped me was the money that it cost. Usually the fee is an average of $100 a month. This coaching network could last for three months to an entire year. The interesting thing is the demand is higher then the supply. People are seeking these chances out to learn from leaders they respect and are not bothered to pay a high amount to get that opportunity (usually the one that is footing the bill is the church).
I wonder, are we using discipleship to make money?

This post might ruffle some feathers. Honestly, I am not here to throw stones, and I am not here to offer a bitter voice of one that cannot afford these coaching networks. I am here to ask a couple of questions and to hear what you think. So if you are apart of a coaching network, or lead a coaching network, please do not take this as me taking shots at you. The reason I bring this up is to raise the need for mentors.
In all reality the problem is not that leaders are charging hundreds of dollars to share their experience, the problem is that they have to charge money in the first place. In most cases the reason the leaders are charging money is because of the demand. The demand is so great (ask any leader how many emails or DM’s they get and you will realize that hundreds are trying to chat with them) that these leaders/coaches have to protect their time, sanity, and family by charging for their services of mentorship. I think the focus needs to come off the coaches and more onto the players on the sideline. There are not enough mentors that are filling the need. And when I say not enough, I mean there is half a percent of mentors out there that fill the need. People are obviously looking to be shaped, guided and molded into who God has created them to be. The demand is there, but the supply of mentors and teachers is so low that people are now paying for whatever they can get and are being told that is what you have to do to grow in leadership.

Couple of Questions to consider:
1) What means more, paying for something or receiving someone’s time for free?
2) Would you pay to be mentored?
3) How do you react to coaching networks?

*kyle

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Kyle Reed

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Kyle Reed is a connector looking to connect with others. A 20 Something that is blogging his way through life and looking to connect through community. Also a team member of the 8BIT Network and brand evangelist. Find me on twitter: @kylelreed, lets chat.
  • dmehrle

    It costs money because many people are willing to pay so that they can say they know a certain leader. They do it all under the name of “mentoring.” How many people have you met that are not so excited about what they are learning as much as they are about who they are learning from?

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com @kylelreed

      To many to count.

    • http://twitter.com/joshua_w_hunt Joshua Hunt

      “How many people have you met that are not so excited about what they are learning as much as they are about who they are learning from?”

      …thought that exact thing when i did my internship…

  • http://www.jacklumanog.com/ Jack Lumanog

    I've come close to signing up for coaching networks to help me with my church plant. The costs were just so outrageous for phone meetings. The in-person visits would not even be possible. I think the draw was to be coached by a big name pastor or authority on church planting. Instead, God has blessed me with a group of 5 other pastors where we meet once a month and we are all in different places in our ministry careers. It's been a lifesaver. The only cost is a couple hours of my time each month and they have become friends – not vendors or outsourced talent that invoice me at the end of a phone call or site visit.

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com @kylelreed

      That is great to hear that you have been able to connect with fellow church planters and mentors. I think the in person meetings are worth their weight in gold. Good stuff.

  • http://www.jacklumanog.com/ Jack Lumanog

    I've come close to signing up for coaching networks to help me with my church plant. The costs were just so outrageous for phone meetings. The in-person visits would not even be possible. I think the draw was to be coached by a big name pastor or authority on church planting. Instead, God has blessed me with a group of 5 other pastors where we meet once a month and we are all in different places in our ministry careers. It's been a lifesaver. The only cost is a couple hours of my time each month and they have become friends – not vendors or outsourced talent that invoice me at the end of a phone call or site visit.

  • http://twitter.com/joshua_w_hunt Joshua Hunt

    1) Your question isn't clear. You are asking if I'd rather pay for something….or get someone's time for free????? something vs. someone's time. not the same. Would paying for my car that gets me from point A to point B everyday mean more than the free time it took you to write this blog?? not answering that, but hope you get the idea of how your question may be skewed…Maybe I should ask you if you enjoy your Starbucks coffee you get everyday vs. everyone's comments on your blog? If I'm paying for someone's time, then I feel it means more than their free time. Time = money. Sure, go ahead and argue that “you should do it for the ministry and not charge me”…but those guys that are coaching leaders are taking many hours out of their week to coach/mentor someone else…it's time away from their families (wife/kids), jobs/ministries, things they love to do outside of coaching/mentoring (not saying they don't love mentoring/coaching….just realize that it is taking up their time.) Perhaps it is their job/ministry to do coaching/mentoring…should they work for free? do you enjoy working for free? realize that time = money. Just because the cost of it made you balk on signing up for it, doesn't mean it's not worth it. Honestly, if you're so worried about seeing if it's “worth” paying for, get a job & then pay for the coaching/mentoring. Do you charge money for anything that you do? Do you charge money for your drum lessons? Why are you charging them money?
    2) yes. have I needed to in the past? no.
    3) I think they are great and are being used for great things.

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com @kylelreed

      Josh, I really do not know what you are trying to get at here. I think you are reading this with a different set of lenses. I am not accusing these guys of anything and am not saying they are wrong for charging. All I am asking and trying to make a point of is mentors are few and far between and because of this these guys have to charge because they are being pulled away from their families.

      I have had several conversations with these “coaches” about this stuff before and they agree with me.

      • http://twitter.com/joshua_w_hunt Joshua Hunt

        wow…yeah, guess i took that a different direction.
        But do you think that if there were more/enough mentors/coaches, would they still charge? The coaches/mentors would still be taking time away from their families…

  • http://www.benlemery.com/ benlemery

    I understand your frustration Kyle. From a simplistic approach, you wonder why they don't ask for people who want to be part of a mentoring network, that they will only choose twenty and they will be chosen by prayer. Of course, then all the people that didn't get chosen would feel like they weren't really hearing from God, haha.
    It's a double edged sword. When I put a conference together for free, not many people showed up. When I put a commitment of ten dollars in, more people showed up. You are going to find commitment based on where your money is going.
    You said, “Paying for something does NOT always give it more value.” This is true but that is part of the risk in going into these networks. You may find out that the person has the administrative ability of a monkey to really pour into people and that the money is a big waste of time.
    Answers to your questions: 1. I think mentoring should be free but also limited to the few that God leads down your path. It is an investment of time both ways and hopefully recognized for that.
    2. I don't think I would be paid but if you were to speak for a church and get an honorarium, isn't that the same thing? Would you reject payment for your speaking services from a church?
    3. Coaching networks are what they are. You are pulling on someone for advice. If you want Jon Saddington to put his two cents in, it is going to cost you because you are paying for the knowledge and mind. If it gives the ability to share a huge amount of information to multiple people all at once, then go for it but it certainly will lose it's one on one touch.
    I have much more but this is enough for now.

  • http://titherofinnovation.blogspot.com/ JuliaKate

    ideally as a follower of Christ, you will always have someone that you are mentoring for a season of time. This is the example of Christ. Mentor/disciple these few and then they disciple these few & then… to be quite frank, i get most of my mentoring from books & the Holy Spirit. i also look to my family, every single member has been serving in ministry at least a decade. i found it tough to find good mentors in the church where i was serving, mostly because the people who had the “goods” were unavailable to the people. many pastors & leaders and bogged down with performance contracts, paperwork, meetings, etc. that they have little time for mentoring.
    would i pay for mentoring? no, but mostly because i'm cheap.
    how do i feel about coaching networks? my mom, my uncle, & my brother are all coaches & they all have their networks. my mom basically gets “flown in” or her dinner comped, my uncle is compensated by attending professional sports games, movie premieres, shout outs on cd liners, & appearances on CNN, and my brother treats the people he mentors to a round of golf & some lunch. they are all in “relationships” with the people they mentor. Networks seem a bit strange to me;)

  • http://dubdynomite.com dubdynomite

    I think coaching and mentoring are somewhat different. Coaching (to me) is specifically focused on a narrower set of skills or topics. Mentoring, in my definition, is more of a focus on the whole person.

    I don’t think it is that unusual to pay for coaching; people hire personal trainers, and golf teachers, tennis pros. They pay for guitar lessons and drum lessons, even flying lessons. Coaching, by definition, is in that vein.

    Mentoring involves someone taking a personal interest in another, investing their time in knowledge to guide them into being a better person overall without a definite focus on a particular skill or knowledge. I don’t think you can buy that, because no amount of money is going to someone care about you as a person, and that care is essential (at least in my mind) for real mentoring to take place.

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  • jaycaruso

    This was discussed elsewhere at some point. I think some coaching networks are situations where people are not really being mentored, but where specific training in particular areas is being offered and I don't see an issue with charging for that kind of time.

    I just think it differs from the mentoring relationship which is far more personal.

    That being said, I have done the jaw drop when I've seen some of the prices for these coaching networks.

    This is why it is in my view, CRITICAL for churches to have their own internal leadership development. I am thankfully a member of church that does this and I am part of a team that just kicked this project off. This way, leaders can be developed internally and somebody won't have to dish hundreds or even thousands of dollars to do it.

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com @kylelreed

      Jay, that would be huge. If churches started to develop leaders, well there would be no more coaching networks really. Well, actually there will probably be coaching networks for the mentors who were suppose to develop the leaders. Kind of a sick cycle I guess.

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  • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

    compelling thoughts, man. there’s a line, in my mind, between mentoring and paid coaching.