Mentoring is one of the most fundamental institutions of a Toastmaster club. In Homer’s Odyssey, Odysseus entrusted to a Mentor his house management, when he departed for Troy. The Mentor was incarnated in many occasions by the goddess Athena, in order to help Telemachus. Nowadays the word “mentor” means the counselor and friend who acts as a spiritual guide and a leader. In the English language there are also mentoring derivatives, such as mentorship, mentoree /mentee, which are also used in Toastmasters. The mentor institution is the advisory relationship between an older and a new member of the club. The scope of this relationship is to support a smooth transition of the new member, to sufficiently help him in the early days, to exchange information and knowledge and to offer mutual learning skills with a spirit of respect, appreciation and cooperation.
“Why choose a mentor?” Will a new member ask. The mentor is extremely important not only at the first days of a new member, but also in the later stages, as it helps the new member to easily and quickly understand the program, the roles of the meetings, how to complete the manuals etc. Also, the mentor is the person who will encourage the new member to actively participate in various activities of the club in order to highlight the communication and leadership skills the new member already possesses, and use those as a benchmark for further development and progress. Moreover, he will be the person who guides and supports the efforts of the new member, always in a cooperative spirit.
It is important to emphasize that the member is choosing his mentor and not the opposite. The maximum number of people who can consult the same mentor is up to five (5) members. It shall be mentioned that the mentor’s choice is not binding: if a member wants to change mentor, he may do so anytime. In fact, after a period of time changing a mentor is recommended, as it helps in cultivating closer relations between members and expands the spirit of cooperation and mutual help within the club. Each member of a Toastmasters club has the right to utilize the institution and the valuable help of a mentor and also become a mentor himself to the younger members. In order for someone to become a mentor he should have presented/ completed the fifth (5th) speech from the manual of Competent Communicator. The mentoring benefits are mutual to all parties, because through this cooperation not only ideas and views are exchanged: the new member receives advice and support, whereas the mentor learns to develop his leadership skills through feedback and inspiration from learner.