On Being a Mentor: the mentor/mentee relationship for Toastmaster club members
The Bridge Builder
An old man traveling a lone highway,
Came in the evening cold and gray,
To a chasm deep and wide, (ˈka-zəm)
Through which was flowing a sullen tide
The old man crossed in the twilight dim
For the sullen stream held no fear for him
But he turned when he reached the other side
And build-ed a bridge to span the tide
“Old man”, cried a fellow pilgrim near,
“You’re wasting your time with building here
Your journey will end with the ending day
Why build you a bridge at the end of the day?”
The builder raised his old gray head,
“Good friend, on the path I’ve come,” he said,
“There followeth after me today
I youth whose feet must pass this way
This chasm that has been naught to me
To that fair-haired youth may a pit-fall be
To that fair-haired youth may a pit-fall be
He too must cross in the twilight dim,
Good friend, I’m building this bridge for him
Ms. Will Allen Dromgoole
This morning I wish to talk about the relationship between a mentor and a mentee
. A mentor is defined as a wise, loyal advisor . A mentor
shares their wisdom, knowledge and experience . A mentor will help the new member (the mentee)
learn, grow and achieve .
Without a mentor program, new members either sink or swim without the guidance of experienced members. Coming through the doors into a Toastmaster’s meeting is hard enough without receiving guidance and support once you have joined.
The mentor-mentee relationship is designed to give the new member a positive experience from the beginning of their Toastmaster’s journey.
Responsibilities when mentoring a new member include:
1. Conduct an initial meeting with the member to introduce yourself, offer assistance and define methods of communication. You want their contact information and the most effective method to get in touch with them.
2. Find out what brought the new member to Toastmasters. What are their goals? Build your assistance around meeting those goals for the mentee.
3. Explain that the mentor/mentee relationship is a two-way street. The mentor can offer support but the mentee should call for support prior to assignments. A part of what we learn in Toastmasters is preparation. Lead the mentee to “prepare” for every assignment. This is an important skill for them to master.
4. Mentors should give their “charge” a copy of the TM meeting schedule and the explanation for the various roles of participation during a meeting.
5. A mentor should encourage a new member to read the manual job description for various assignments and also offer tips for the roles based on their own experiences. [offer Larry Epps’ insight]
6. An important point is for the mentee to look at next week’s schedule and to be thinking one week ahead.
a. If they don’t have an assignment this week and are the Tabletopic Master next week, have them pay attention to how that role is led during the meeting.
b. The mentee may contact your mentor for tips (for an upcoming assignment) so they have time to prepare and build their confidence.
c. Another tip is to arrive early when you have an assignment.
7. Mentors should give feedback for each assignment a new member completes to encourage them and help them get better at fulfilling the roles. Focus on the positives with suggestions for improvement.
8. Other mentoring tips include;
a. Help the new member set a date for their Icebreaker. Our club has a 6 to 8 week schedule but folks have speaking conflicts. A new member that is already working on their Icebreaker could be ready to jump into an open slot.
b. Provide helpful materials from our website such as:
- The Goal Setting worksheet,
- Timer’s Report,
- The generic Evaluation form,
- Role of the mentor,
- New member profile and
- Ask them to log on the website and input their contact information.
c. When we have a number of new members joining in a short time, suggest we operate our meeting as a “demonstration” meeting where each participant briefly explains their role as they come up to the lectern.
9. At the conclusion of my speech today, we will pass around a Mentor Interest Survey and ask you to briefly fill out if you wish to become a mentor to someone in the club or wish to be assigned a mentor. [explain the sheet as they are passed around] Please give to Phil Brady.
10. I am wrapping up part one of the mentoring information. In part two, we will get into more detail and those of you who have requested to be mentors or to get a mentor to help you will have your assignments.
A mentor is a wise counselor, a loyal advisor. A mentor is someone who wants you to succeed and will commit their time and talent to help you. A mentor has traveled before down the road the new member is taking and is willing to help them meet their goals.
In this journey we call Toastmasters, let us support one another. The world needs more effective communicators who can build bridges of understanding, bridges of peace, bridges of hope and bridges of love. Be a mentor who builds up our club and in turn, our world.