Mentor

Last Revised: December 27, 2002

RESPONSIBILITIES WHEN MENTORING A NEW MEMBER

At the first club meeting:

Sit with the new member. Explain the various parts of the meeting, such as Table Topics, formal speeches, and evaluations as they happen and answer any questions the mentee may have.

Orient the new member to club customs and procedures. Help the mentee become comfortable and a part of the club in any way you want.

Explain how to sign up. Ask the vice president education to schedule the mentee’s new member orientiaton and ice breaker as soon as possible. Also advise the mentee that it is their responsiblity to find a replacement if they cannot perform their duties, and briefly explain how to do this. Encourage the mentee to explore the Hardhats Website and give them its address.

Help with the Ice Breaker. Many experienced Toastmasters still consider the first speech to be the most difficult. This is because new members are not only uncomfortable speaking before a group, but they are also speaking before relative strangers. Your assistance can help the mentee overcome any fears and start off well. Discuss speech ideas with the mentee and offer suggestions for organization if necessary. Listen to the mentee practice the speech and offer feedback.

At club meetings over the next few months:

Sit with the new member, especially when they perform functions, and assist them as necessary.

Make the mentee aware of resources, including Hardhats’ library of all speech manuals. Point out material in The Toastmaster magazine. Also explain roles of club officers and the information they can provide, contests, and District conferences.

Provide positive feedback. The first few weeks of membership are critical. Mentees must feel they are already benefiting from the Toastmasters experience. Compliment them on their progress.

Explain responsibilities. Membership requires more than just giving speeches and receiving evaluations. It also means a commitment to doing other scheduled jobs to help the club and its members to be successful. Review “A Toastmaster’s Promise” (available from Hardhats’ sergeant-at-arms) with the mentee.

Help with speeches and other assignments. Continue to help your mentee prepare speeches and use evaluations to improve. Offer your own feedback, too. Help the mentee prepare for assigned meeting roles and offer tips for fulfilling them successfully. If appropriate meet with them outside club meetings, especiall to pratice speeches.

Keep in contact. If you note that they are absent from several meetings, telephone or e-mail them to see how they are doing and tell them that they are missed.

Eventually:

Tell how you’ve benefited. Share your own goals and aspirations with the mentee and how you have benefited from the program. You are proof that they can achieve their own goals.

Invite the mentee to other events. Toastmasters’ contests, club installations and roasts and other social activities, District conferences, and other clubs’ meetings all offer mentees the opportunity to extend their learning and participation.

Acknowledge their progress. Ask for the time during a club meeting to mention your mentee’s progress in the program. Such recognition shows that the club cares about the mentee’s progress and motivates the mentee to continue.

Explain club officers’ duties. Describe how the mentee can develop leadership skills by serving as a club officer. Help the mentee select a club office in which to serve and discuss when the mentee would serve. Be sure these goals are reasonable.

Explain contests. Discuss the purpose of contests, the types of contests conducted by the club, and how contests progress to Area, Division, District and sometimes Regional and International levels. Help mentees assess their readiness to participate in contests.

Describe the TI organization. Acquaint the mentee with Toastmasters International’s structure, including the Area, Division, District, Region, and International levels, and the purpose of each. Help the mentee understand how the organization works, the mentee’s role in the organization, and the leadership opportunities available beyond the Club.

RESPONSIBILITIES WHEN MENTORING EXPERIENCED MEMBERS

If you are mentoring a more experienced member, your responsibilities will differ depending on what your mentee wants to learn. For example, your mentee may want to develop certain leadership skills or learn how to use humor in speaking. Whatever skill the mentee wants to learn, you can help by:

  • Providing your own insights on and experiences with the subject
  • Observing, listening and providing feedback on their efforts
  • If appropriate, meeting with them outside club meetings
  • Referring the mentee to books, tapes or other materials on the subject which you have found helpful
  • Introducing the mentee to other people who may be able to help, too

MORE MENTORING TIPS

When working with your mentee, remember that your function is to help the mentee learn to think and act successfully and independently. Don’t tell the mentee exactly what to do or do their work yourself. Simply guide and offer feedback.

Keep in mind, too, that for the mentor/mentee relationship to be successful, you must be:

Available. You must have time to spend with a member–at least 15 minutes or more each week to help with speeches and answer questions. New Members may require additional time.

Patient. People learn at varying speeds and some need more guidance than others.

Sensitive. Tact and diplomacy are vital. Be careful to say and do things that will motivate and encourage the mentee. Be loyal and take care not to betray the mentee’s confidences.

Respectful. Everyone is different. Respect the differences between yourself, the mentee and others.

Flexible. You must adapt and adjust to various situations and accept that the mentee may make decisions with which you may not agree.

Supportive of the club. You must be proud of our club and what it has done and can do for members.

Knowledgeable. Before you can help someone else, you must be familiar with the club, its operations, the educational program and even the Toastmasters International organization itself. You should have completed at least several speeches in the basic manual, have served in most meeting roles and have enough speaking skills yourself to help to your mentee.

Confident. You should be self-assured and friendly.

A good listener. Often simply listening, without taking on the other person’s problem, can be of great help to the mentee. Just by listening you can enable them to articulate the problem and sort things out.

Concerned about others. You must care about your mentee and truly want to help.

Need assistance or more info? Please contact the current Vice-President of Membership, whose name, phone, and e-mail may be found in the Member Directory.