A Toastmasters mentor can bring immense value to the table, particularly with enhancing your public speaking skills. These skills are indispensable in career development, whether for a project manager, business analyst, or the like.
As a worldwide club, what a mentor does and what I believe Toastmasters provides, is a fertile ground for speakers and ideas to germinate. The mentor is not there to coax and cajole you to learn. You already bring to the table life skills, and the want and desire to learn, and to improve on your speaking skills. A mentor helps to hone in on those specific skills, to feed your appetite, to help those ideas flourish.
In other words, the Toastmasters mentor helps you stay on your path to enhance your public speaking goals, making sure you don't veer too far to the right, or too far to the left. The mentor helps to keep you on that middle road, making suggestions and recommendations on how and where to improve your speaking skills.
For those just starting out, the mentor helps to define and nurture your speaking structure, to give form, substance and meaning to your words. Always with the emphasis on the consistent flow of ideas from one subject to the next, unhampered.
For the intermediate speaker, the mentor helps you to draw out a stronger speech structure, with a more centralized meaning to your words, making the storyline sound less contrived. Maybe even adding a bit of dramatic license to help better convey your meaning to the audience. And of course, how you can use the stage to your added advantage.
For the advanced speaker, the mentor helps you to create a more refined and fluid speech. The emphasis is on subtle nuances of the language that help to pepper your speeches with verve, making them even more tantalizing to the audience. Here you want to be more cogent and coherent, more lucid, more flexible in how you express yourself with words.
At each stage you learn to better equip yourself in understanding your audience at a deeper level, which might influence the way you deliver your speech.
All these factors come together to encapsulate the gradual stages of how language can be learned, practiced and used to get your point across in an artistic and entertaining way, without losing sight of your message.
The mentor is not there to be disparaging, demeaning or deriding. On the contrary, it takes self-control and character to be a mentor, to listen, to provide constructive criticism, and to make the learning environment mutually beneficial to both the mentor and the mentee; making it a win-win for both parties.
In a sense, a mentor can be that personal or career growth coach for a short period of time. This is the optimal form of personal success, working in an environment to help cultivate that potential, allowing it to bloom into something bigger and brighter. And, as that seed of knowledge grows and blossoms, you learn how to pollinate it to others. This is in fact the best value we can learn from a Toastmasters mentor.