What is a mentor?
Mentoring is the process of supporting someone through their development, achievements and progress as a member of Toastmaster. Both mentor and mentee learn and benefit from the experience. It is possible to have a relatively new member mentoring a more experienced speaker as both can learn a great deal from one another.
Mentoring requires rapport, active listening skills, openness, trust, commitment and emotional maturity. Once the foundations are in place, the relationship is nurtured by a mutual understanding of agreed goals and desired outcomes
What can a mentor offer me?
- Provide support and encouragement
- Offer guidance and orientation in the first few meetings
- Explain club meeting programmes and responsibilities
- Provide guidance/support with first few speeches
- Provide guidance/support with new meeting roles
- Provide a listening ear
- Gently nudge you out of your comfort zone
- Give supportive feedback
Your mentor will play a key role in making you feel welcome, making you want to attend regularly, and building your confidence as a speaker.
We’ve created an introductory leaflet for all members who join the club to acquaint them with the club’s mentoring program. Click here to take a look at an electronic copy or collect one from the Vice President of Education or Mentor Manager at the next club meeting!
Your mentor's key tasks
Your mentor will get you up to speed as quickly as possible. They will:
- Be available for you when you need support
- Encourage you to take on more challenging meeting roles
- Provide guidance on tasks from the educational program the mentee is pursuing
- Offer their knowledge, experience and expertise
- Encourage you to make speeches regularly
- Be a sounding board on possible speech topics when you need it
- Discuss your speech objectives before the meeting
- Give you supportive, encouraging feedback on a role/speech, even if not the official evaluator
Depending on your mutually agreed preference, your mentor will keep in touch with you via email, telephone, in person, or if you are both have the required equipment, something like Skype. It’s up to you both. For the very first meeting however, it is strongly recommended you meet face-to-face, maybe somewhere like a nice coffee shop to get acquainted. Equally important, schedule in your next several meetings over the coming months at your first meeting to make sure you stay in touch.
Members are assigned meeting roles by the Vice President of Education (you’ll get an email) and it is up to the member to accept that role. When you take on a role for the first time, your mentor will also be informed. Get in touch in advance of the meeting so they can coach, encourage and support you, as well be ready to evaluate you in your educational manual (make sure you bring it with you!)
Developing the mentoring relationship
Once the mentee is comfortable with the fundamentals, mentors should consider encouraging members to become more involved with the club. That could mean volunteering for speeches and meeting roles outside of Spa Speakers, entering district and regional competitions, volunteering for contest administration, participating in committee activities etc. In short, encouraging them to get the most out of their Toastmasters experience!
What are the benefits?
Sounds great! When do I get my mentor?
Once you are confirmed, it’s up to you to get in touch with your mentor and work out they details of how you are going to communicate, frequency, goals etc. Every mentoring relationship is different so try to shape an approach that suits both you and your mentor.
What if I want to change my mentor?
Different members have different strengths so changing mentor can be the best way to continue your personal development. If you think it’s a good time to change, let both your current mentor and the mentor manager know, whilst having in mind who you believe would be an ideal next mentor.
You can also have more than one mentor (maybe 2 – 3) to capitalise of the strengths and experiences of different members. The important thing is to keep your current mentor, the mentor mananger and your ideal mentor apprised.
I want to be a mentor!
Being a mentor or mentee (and you can be both at the same time) is one of the most valuable aspects of being a member of Spa Speakers. To find out more, click here!