Workshop#2 – Mentorship, Partnership
Friends, and fellow Toastmasters:
Why mentorship so important ? Year after year after a year, we’ve gone through hard times and pass down what we cherish to future generations. Mentor-mentee system is the very infrastructure to support the organization. I’m not teaching you how to be a good mentor; I want to share some of my experience in these years. Second, I’ll point out the Juniors and explain why Mentorship important for the Juniors?
The basic design for the organization is called infrastructure. The original infrastructure makes TM clubs small-sized and tangible organizations, a bit like studying groups.
For quite a long time ago, NTUTM was bother by so-called “Generation Crisis". But it’s a challenge for young officers. Every time a new officer team is installed, they need to spend much efforts starting over again. The infrastructure couldn’t provide enough capacity to expand the magnitude.
Seniors graduated and left the club with historical legacy. People built up Mentor-mentee system to keep the inheritance steady as possible. With the quantity of current members coming to a high-water level, unfortunately, this system wasn’t free from the Generation Crisis raised by inadequate newcomers. We had to swallow the bitterness.
Since 2011, Bill Peng initiated the grand reformation to strengthen previous infrastructure, dealing with this peoblem. The re-designed SGDs, Meeting schedule, Family system and the Designed meeting, all revolving around mentor-mentee system. This makes them possible. He and his people helped NTUTM to build up positive networks and make the bond stronger. NTUTM revived and became even bigger club ever.
Nowadays, a trend is gradually emerging. Every 6 months, new friends come and join NTUTM; the previous newcomers upgrade to Juniors. We now have steady recruitment rate, at the same time, the Junior generation is silently expanding. While the current educational system may not structurally distinguish the Juniors from newcomers.
We can easily discover that positions provided, especially prepared speeches, are vastly in shortage. Juniors’ opportunities are squeezed.
I suggest that Juniors be a mentor to keep pacing in communication skills and leadership.
This is my learning model. And I seperate it into 4 stages. Allow me to explain it quickly.
At first step, we are Mentees, and have a good time with our mentors. Mentors shared a lot experiences and precious lessons with us.
At the same time, we explore the world and try many funny activities. Sometimes we were stuck by busy schedules, even midterm tests so that we skip meetings occassionally. That’s true, but we’ve come to the idea that TM is the place for us to stay in future years.
One year later, we are Juniors. First time to be a mentor. New friends coming in and we spend time having funs together; being a mentor makes us contented, we help them take care of difficulties about speeches, and it’s pretty worthy of it.
For example, I’ll pay efforts watching their scripts, provide grammatical and logical advice for them; what’s more, give likes on their FB post and remembering their hobbies and favorite books so that I can make fun conversations with my mentees.
1.5-2 years spent in NTUTM. Our Mentees joined officers’ team with you. Just like what you did when became a fresh Junior. We found ourselves busier and have less time to take care of mentees. At this stage, mentor also finds that it takes more time and effort to “level up", to leave strong impressions by delivering iconic speeches seems like mission impossible. What I wish mentors to adapt “spotlight model" instead of “searching light" in their CC track. By building up personal styles and focus on what you could do well on the stage. No need to pick big questions, the goal is make your style.
Under such busy schedule, how a mentor keep bonding with mentees? Some mentors did a great job, like Ivan hosting discussion groups for his mentees; Jenny invites her mentees for lunch and have a heart-warming chat. She can know more about them and help them go through the challenges they are now facing of.
At the forth and last stage, Mentors are getting close to CC certificates, with previous traning, they can see through the past and have a cohesive understanding toward the learning trail. This is also called dot-connecting, mentors are able to specific issues and create positive discussions with TM club, it is a living example to encourage mentees.
You can see through things in Toastmasters that vividly lives inside your heart. We stop calling for better or best moment, because the best moment we can have is present. (C9, C10)
We came here for some reasons. Like speaking not so well, stage fright, lack of confidence, trying to be a superstar. These things can benefit you within a short period of time, just like fireworks, shining but not lasting; in a long term, there is something deeper supporting me here, the fifth year.
To be frank, I was bothered by a question and couldn’t figure it out foe quite some time: why my mentees refuse things I gave to them ?
When you send lots of messages and they just ignored without any response, that really makes me sad. Being a mentor, we all know how to respect our mentees or partners, somehow we find it easier to say than do.
To be a mentor, we got to find out the deeper thought about mentor and to seek for mutual understanding, or mentors would easily get tired and more likely to quit.
A mentee of mine, three years ago, her name is Lily. Lily was shy and quiet, often sat herself at the corner. She had every ingridient what we regard best speech speaker to have; yet the preparation wasn’t successful. I found that she was stuck, a hard core preventing her from being herself at ease.
She told me that, at her hight school years, she was once humiliated by the audience at a speech contest. Someone left while she was standing on the podium and having difficulties remembering next lines. She didn’t win, and stopped trying ever since.
We had some tea, tissues and hugs; she promised to try again and I promised to help her go through the process. She did great at the freshmen cup. When I felt pity because she didn’t win any prizes, she replied: “It doesn’t matter to win or not. What matters is, I have my audience supporting me from the beginning to the last. My audience never gave up on me. And that is you."
Her words refreshed me, letting me know that what a mentee really needs. It’s not about what I can provide, but who I’m willing to be. I told her, “you are not quitting, nor am I." This saved me and my years in Toastmasters,and brought me here. All they need is you.
No matter you agree with my content or not, there are two messages I wish you to take-home:
- Regarding educational and leadership skills.A junior needs mentorship and create the learning process of your own.
- Officers shall pay attention to the challenge that Juniors are now facing; I wish to see future leaders, officers,members to make timely response and further adjustments of policies. More speech opportunities or club-visiting activities are only the beginning. Strictly speaking these are not the best resolutions for them. Keep exploring the possibilities, and never give up on them.