The 31-year-old's 67th-minute penalty in the 2-1 Europa League victory over Sheriff on Thursday saw him score his 23rd goal in continental competition for the White Hart Lane club, surpassing Chivers' benchmark.
And Defoe is under no illusions as to the magnitude of his achievement, having had the benefit of a pep-talk with the former striker at the interval.
"He [Chivers] is a legend," the England forward told ITV4. "I saw him at half-time. He said to me, 'Keep it going you'll get it', it is so nice for someone like Martin to say that.
"It was frustrating, I couldn't really get much space. I just thought to myself 'Stay patient' - to go to the top of the [scoring] list I'm delighted. I was confident, what an opportunity to do it."
Tottenham's victory means that they have now qualified for the knockout stages of the competition with two matches to spare and manager Andre Villas-Boas congratulated the striker on his landmark.
"We are all particularly happy for him," said the Tottenham boss. "It is a great honour and will stay in time like Martin's and will be very difficult to break.
"I hope it means this club will continue in this competition into the later stages to make it even more prestigious for him.
"We were expectant and glad that it happened. We were trying to put him through on goal, Erik [Lamela] did very well to create the chance through the penalty and he slotted it home."