Gradually I am progressing on my Toastmaster’s journey even after taking a break from giving speeches for academic work. I recently finished my final project on level 2 on my Toastmaster’s Pathway.
This project was on mentoring and then I give a 5-7 minutes speech about a time when I was a protégé and share the impact and importance of having a mentor. I did not have a protégé experience to share but this is what I had for my audience. Enjoy
“Though I am an advocate for mentoring and believe we can move further at any level in life when we are under the guidance of a committed mentor, I have never really had an in-person mentor until Toastmasters assigned me one- a relationship we are still growing.
I might not have had mentors but I’ve never stopped learning from people in the areas I want to grow, I continually ask the right questions from relevant people who are willing to answer, hence increasing my knowledge and shaping my being.
I have enjoyed part of mentoring and accessed the wisdom of the successful in the pages of books. I can credit my progress to the authors of books I’ve read, the people who have given me constructive feedback, and the experienced people who have answered my questions.
With the understanding of mentoring gained from this project, I cannot fulfill the part of this project that requires I share my experience as a protégé, but from the mentorship I have witnessed, the lessons from this project, and my experience as a lifelong learner, I will share on mentoring, its impact, and the importance of having a mentor which are also requirements for this speech project.
You notice I didn’t call the people I could go to for advice, those who gave me constructive feedback and even authors of the books I’ve read mentors. They are experienced people I can rely on but not my mentors and that’s one error of our time; we claim mentorship of people who do not know us. Our admirers in a particular field from whom we have benefited become our mentors without their knowledge and permission.
Mentoring is an agreed relationship where an experienced person, who is the mentor, provides guidance and support to empower protégés/learner/student to reach their goals. The role of mentors is not to raise people to become like themselves- we are not looking for their duplicates in exact form or character. Their role is basically intentional transfer of values, knowledge, skills to grow an identified potential and achieve a goal. The mentor can be virtual or in-person.
Mentors and coaches are often thought of as having similar roles. The two positions can overlap, but they are actually very different. Coaching can be part of mentorship, but mentors are not coaches.
Coaches are responsible for protégés achieving a specific short-term goal usually skill-based. For instance, if you want to improve your gestures during speeches, a coach will help you specifically with gestures. They take control of the method for reaching this single goal in a short term.
A mentor on the other hand provides support for a protégé as he/she takes personal responsibility for working towards the accomplishment of broader goals over a sustained period of time. There is more of personal involvement and the mentor focuses on multiple areas or skills to achieve long term goals.
The mentor – protégé relationship is often mutually beneficial. During mentorship, both mentors and protégés learn new ideas, see varying perspectives, and find new methods of approaching people, topics, and situations. It is said that you learn by teaching, so as the mentor teaches or grooms, part of them grow and become experienced.
There is always something to learn from a supportive person with different or greater experience who is willing to listen without judgement, provide guidance, and answer questions. As a protégé you aim higher, achieve at a higher rate, grow rarely used or hidden talents, and become better through the support and guidance of another person. And that’s who mentors are to us- they are relevant for our growth.
Not everyone can be your mentor. Sometimes our hunger to grow makes us settle on any admirable person as our mentor. A successful mentor should be experienced and Knowledgeable, positive and supportive, respectful and caring, committed and dependable. Look out for these in your mentors.
Just as not everyone qualifies to be your mentor, not everyone is ready to be mentored or called a protégé. Successful protégés must be adaptable, have the desire and willingness to learn, respectful of mentor’s time and boundaries, accountable for their own personal growth and development, and seek to meet goals and overcome challenges.
There will always be someone who knows more than you do, has the experience you will need, the wisdom to guide you, and the support to encourage you on your journey. Life is said to be unfair, but this is the fair part of life- people have gone ahead of you, made the mistakes, failed, and learned the lessons so that you won’t repeat them. Look for such people and reach out to them, you cannot achieve greatness alone.”
Thank you for reading, I would love to hear your feedback.