Before it all starts: How to be a desired mentor?
By Lukas Liebich
In my opinion, the most underrated aspect of one’s mentoring experience is the kind of mentee you’ve got.
Over the past ten years, I have mentored more than 25 people. I got various flavors. Mentoring is great, but let’s be honest: It can also be a real drag.
The one thing that influenced me the most about how much fun the mentoring was for me was How motivated the mentee was throughout the relationship (that means not only in the beginning) and how proactive they were (that means how often they asked for feedback and acted upon it; how quickly they were able to bring ideas to actions).
The thing about great mentees is that they most often actively seek out their mentors. Think about it: If it were you who joined a new club, and you heard that you should get yourself a mentor, how would you choose? I guess you would look for someone who would have some appeal for you. It’s no different with the people about to choose you as a mentor.
I’m not saying you can’t have a fulfilling mentoring relationship unless you’re at least a Division Table Topic Champion. Still, I want you to realize that, like in many walks of life, even in mentoring, you need to be aware of the laws of supply and demand. To have great mentees, you should work on being an appealing mentor.
Here are a couple of quick tips for you:
- Give speeches often. You will improve faster, AND you will be seen as someone on a steep upward trajectory. If you didn’t know, rising stars are even better mentors than established Toastmasters celebrities. A rising star can take their mentee(s) on the upward journey.
- When attending Toastmasters meetings, write comprehensive feedback to everyone, not just when you’re the evaluator. Not just a couple of words on the standard feedback slip. Bring a couple of notecards / blank sheets of paper and give at least one to every prepared speaker – if possible, to everyone – thorough written feedback. It will help you improve by providing feedback. Moreover, it makes you a person who cares about developing others. Not just in their eyes – but in reality.
- Educate yourself on presentation skills beyond Toastmasters materials. Books, blogs, videos – different people consume information in various forms. But do consume it and create your own opinion about it. Combined with giving speeches often and giving everyone feedback, this will make you a real expert. A dream mentor indeed.
A long-term tip:
Become a great speaker. How to do that is beyond the scope of this blog post – but being great (relaxed, insightful, funny) on stage is the most convincing argument for people to make you the one to help them on their journey.
Lukas Liebich DTM-Cafe4