The Keys to Successful Mentorship

Introduction to Toastmasters Mentorship

If you are new to Mentoring this information will help you by answering some basic questions and by taking the mystery out of how to set your Mentoring relationship up for success. For best results please review this information prior to making contact with your Mentee to schedule your first meeting.

Keys to Successful Mentorship

Congratulations on your decision to become one of the leaders within your club by taking on the responsibility of Mentoring a newer member! This is an exciting and challenging opportunity for you to further spread your wings and take your Toastmaster skills to the next level! Mentoring provides you with an excellent opportunity to leverage and further reinforce your experiences. By sharing your knowledge you will benefit a new member by accelerating their learning curve which will make their experience more positive and their investment of time more productive as well. This guide is designed to provide you with recommendations that will prepare you for a successful journey as you begin to Mentor a fellow Toastmaster.

You are Not Alone

  • If you are new to Mentoring and you are feeling underserving of such an honor or responsibility or you are perhaps questioning your abilities you aren’t the first nor will you be the last to do so.
  • No one expects you to be perfect and in all likelihood you will make mistakes which are simply learning opportunities as long as you use them as such.
  • Remember someone believes in you and thinks you are ready otherwise they wouldn’t have asked you to take on this important role.
  • Be honest and sincere with you Mentee, let them know what your Toastmaster accomplishments are and if they are your first Mentee tell them that you will be learning together.
  • Follow the program and use the tools and resources available to you and in all likelihood you will feel right at home as you help your Mentee begin their Toastmaster journey.

Lead by Example

  • As a Club Mentor you are an important part of the team so keep in mind that each new member is precious to the club and that your positive example during both your mentoring interactions as well as at other times will have an impact on how they progress and what habits and behaviors they mirror.
  • Role model a sense of urgency in the mentoring relationship and be sure to follow up in a timely manner and follow through with any commitments that you make.

Take the Lead

  • Assuming that the new member is a willing participant in the mentoring relationship then they are expecting you to take the lead by making initial contact, scheduling meetings and doing any follow up that is required.
  • Your willingness to initiate and take appropriate action is a significant component of the example that you set for them.
  • If you haven’t already done so exchange contact information during your first meeting.

Plan and Prepare in Advance

  • The first meeting with your Mentee is the most critical because it is during this meeting that they will form a first impression regarding your ability to Mentor them so be prepared.
  • Have the suggested information printed and bound in advance and double check everything to make sure that it is in order.
  • Read your documents to make certain that you have a clear understanding of what you will be covering with them.
  • Invest some time to go back and revisit your Competent Communicator and Competent Leader Manuals in order to take yourself back to the time when you first started so that you can appreciate and empathize from the perspective of someone who may be overwhelmed by all the new information.
  • Also go back and revisit the club web site and the Toastmasters International web site and make note of the information and resources that are going to be relevant and important for a new member.

Establish Your Own Goals and Objectives

  • Remember you are not their boss and that the Mentoring relationship is a connection of two adults who have personal goals and objectives that they are both aiming to accomplish during each meeting.
  • With that in mind strive to identify your own objectives before each meeting by asking yourself what you hope to accomplish before the meeting.
  • You can even share this information with your Mentee to help them understand why you would be willing to volunteer your time and share your wisdom.
  • In addition define your overall goals for the mentoring program from start to finish then ask your Mentee for confirmation of the understanding and acceptance of the objectives that you have presented.
  • Also be prepared to answer any immediate questions that they may have or clear up any concerns that they express.

Meeting Location

  • Select a meeting location in advance that is mutually convenient, comfortable and allows you to converse.
  • A coffee shop or restaurant that has a table for note taking is best.
  • For the comfort of your Mentee it is usually best to meet in a public place.
  • If you choose to meet in a place where a beverage or meal may be purchased it is also important to be sensitive to your Mentee’s finances and meet in a location where there are reasonable pricing options.

Keep it Professional

  • If there was a concern that you wouldn’t keep your conduct mature and respectful you wouldn’t have likely been asked to be part of the Mentoring Program so this is a reminder to always keep in mind that you are acting as an ambassador for the club and that your behavior during mentoring meetings will be a reflection of the rest of the membership.
  • Be mindful of your language and your behavior during your mentoring meetings.

Set and Manage Expectations

  • Your Mentee doesn’t know what to expect during your meetings so it is important that you tell them by providing a framework of the steps involved in the mentoring program.
  • It is best to use the documented information that is made available to you.
  • Lay the ground rules and set expectations regarding length of meetings, frequency of meetings, duration of the Mentoring Program, focus of conversations what they can expect from you and what you expect from them.
  • Have a mentoring schedule in mind that includes frequency and duration of meetings then discuss this during your first meeting so that you can work out a plan that is mutually convenient and make sense to both parties.

Leverage Tools and Resources

  • Some people dislike or fear using anything that appears overly formal, too structured or ridged but this is the only way to regulate the quality and the quantity of information that you provide to your Mentee.
  • Tools simplify tasks by making the job easier.
  • They help each of us work collectively as a team to deliver the same quality message in a consistent manner.
  • Documentation allows us to follow a standard operating procedure that flows in a logical manner which keeps our discussions focused, on track and more productive.
  • Following the check boxes keeps you in control and makes you appear intelligent and more efficient.
  • Following a format is teachable, it ensures that all the necessary information is covered and it is something that everyone can do so by role modelling this method of delivery you are training our next generation of Club Mentors.

Meet People at their Needs

  • Individualism is important to your club, you are important because of the special chemistry and dynamic nature that you bring to the membership.
  • People join Toastmasters for a wide variety of reasons, some of our members are very vulnerable and sensitive people, others are experienced speakers who are competent and confident individuals therefore you must explore who you are working with.
  • This is one of the most critical components of a successful mentoring relationship because each mentoring relationship is unique based on the two individuals who are working together.
  • The V.P. of Education and/or the Club Mentorship Program Coordinator will do their best to pair people together who will be a good fit in order to increase the odds of a successful mentoring relationship.
  • It is your responsibility to uncover who the Mentee is as an individual in addition to determining their wants, needs, goals and objectives so that you can establish the role that you will play as their Mentor.
  • Once you have done so you must pace yourself accordingly by matching your commitment, enthusiasm, delivery and drive to theirs.
  • If you find yourself or your Mentee experiencing frustration, disappointment, uncertainty, or similar feelings or emotions that are related to your Mentoring relationship ask yourself what is out of balance that is causing this.
  • These experiences are often connected to expectations and if the expectations can be adjusted then the relationship can get back on track but if they cannot then other measures must be taken.
  • If you determine that the match isn’t a good fit it is best to let the appropriate people know immediately so that another club member can be assigned the Mentoring role.

Take them on a Tour

  • Early in your relationship (if the required equipment and an internet connection is available) give them a brief overview of the club web site by showing them all the resources available on the site and also showing them how to log in and access information in the Members Only section of the web site such as the weekly meeting agenda. (create a Web Site checklist for this)
  • Take the lead by introducing them to other members especially those who you feel they could benefit from establishing a connection with.

Acknowledge and Address Concerns

  • As a volunteer you are well within your rights to stress the importance of communication and mutual respect for each other’s time.
  • Role model consistent communication by providing advance notice of any changes in plans or meeting times or phoning ahead if you are running behind schedule.
  • Likewise if you feel there is reason for concern regarding your Mentee, acknowledge this concern and address it in a sensitive and professional manner.

Offering Evaluations and Feedback

  • Your Mentee will have many opportunities for evaluation and feedback from many of the club members so remember to offer your comments and feedback in appropriate doses.
  • Let them know that you are prepared to offer feedback beyond the evaluations that are presented during club meetings but that you will only do so if that is what they ask for.

Monitor and Report on Progress

  • A primary measurement of success for the Mentoring relationship is the rate of progress of the Mentee therefore it is important to quantify their achievements and report your observations to the V.P. of Education on a consistent basis.

Ask for Feedback

  • The true value of Toastmasters to all of us is the feedback that we receive from our fellow members.
  • Chances are you will receive as much value and benefit from the Mentoring relationship as your Mentee if you treat this responsibility as an opportunity to learn and grow your skills.
  • If your goal is to improve then you must be open to receiving feedback that is honest, positive and constructive that offers you an opportunity to improve.
  • Ask your Mentee specific questions that are designed to gain the insight you want and need for improvement.

Continuously Improve the Club Mentorship Program

  • As a Mentor you are the eyes and the ears for the V.P. of Education, the Club Executive and the Mentorship Program Coordinator.
  • If you uncover opportunities for our Club to improve the information that is covered or the delivery of the content in this program then pass your recommendations along to the appropriate individual(s).

Marshall Northcott, Division G Governor, Founder’s District
“Members Matter Most!”

Get with the P.R.O.G.R.A.M.
Persistence ● Recognition ● Opportunities ● Growth ● Responsiveness ● Achievement ● Motivation

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