Rotary International District 1080
Home | Membership Committee | Mentoring
(For an in depth RI perspective, see the RI publication 'New Member Orientation')
More than one in four new Rotarians with less than two years service in Rotary leave.
Mentoring new members into clubs might help to prevent this large loss.
A mentor and a sponsor are not necessarily the same thing.
What might a mentor look like?
A mentor should be a volunteer it is an important and challenging role nobody should be forced into it.
A mentor should be a good listener the mentor must be ready to respond to the need of the mentee. Don't tell them what you think they need to know.
A mentor must be approachable the mentee must be able to approach the mentor at any time not only at a club meeting
A mentor should have experience of Rotary.
A mentor should have knowledge of Rotary, not only within the club.
At the same time, recent recruits will have fresh memories of the challenges they faced.
A mentor must be empathetic to the new mentee.
Role of the mentor
Help a new Rotarian integrate into the club.
Introduce your mentee to 'Rotary ways' the people and the things they do.
Be available to your Mentee Be there.
Meet, support, motivate, inform and guide your Mentee. Above all, educate, do not train, your Mentee.
Plan a programme with your Mentee reflect, review and adjust as necessary.
- Establish rapport
- Build trust
- Ask Questions
- Keep confidences
- Be there
- Explore issues
- Share information
- Help to set goals and make a plan for action
- Reflect on outcomes
- Adjust the plan or the goal
- Continue the cycle reflect, plan, do
Above all else
How about listening to what the new member has to say?
How about trying to fit the mentoring to meet the needs of the new member?
Can the Mentor offer an opportunity for the new member to see themselves as a vital, active, engaged member of the club?
There could be four stages in the Mentor-Mentee relationship
(Week 0 is the week of induction so week -3 is three weeks before the induction)
Stage 1 Set up the relationship
Starts at Week -3. The Mentor meets the Mentee, explains his/her supportive role in helping the new Rotarian integrate fully into Rotary and supports the Sponsor and the Mentee as the Mentee prepares for induction
Stage 2 Develop the relationship
Starts at Week 0. The Mentor and the Mentee jointly plan and implement their programme
Stage 3 Review Success
On-going from Week 0. The Mentor and Mentee review every activity undertaken jointly or by the Mentee alone, identify positive and negative learning, and adjust their programme as necessary
Stage 4 End the relationship and celebrate
Eventually the Mentor has to 'let go' but only when both agree that the Mentee is fully integrated into Rotary ways, or confident enough to manage his/her own learning. When that happens celebrate!
However, allow for the relationship to be revived months, or even years, later. When the Mentee has become experienced in his/her own right s/he may want to discuss the possibility of seeking election as Club President, and who better to talk to than his/her former Mentor?
As Mentor, ask 'open' questions throughout, and listen actively to what your Mentee tells you. Everything you do must be planned, agreed and recorded (only brief notes are necessary), reviewed and reflected on in readiness for the next activity. The Mentor and Mentee must be clear why they are about to engage in a particular activity, and to assess its contribution to the development of the Mentee on completion. If it was not productive, then both must look for an alternative means of achieving the required outcome. Pay particular attention to the views and feelings expressed by your mentee to ensure that s/he is getting the advice, guidance and support s/he wants, and is able to make good use of it.
There is no complete list of joint activities that will benefit a particular Mentor-Mentee relationship but the following examples illustrate what is possible:
Meet and talk to all members before, during and after the meal, and at social events. Try and sit with as many different members as you can. Don't forget to include the Mentee's family.
Meet and talk to Club officers. Ask them what they do, and why
Meet and talk to Committee Chairs and Project leaders. Ask them what they do, and why
Check how many members are actively involved in the club's programme. Are there some 'diners only'?
Encourage the Mentee to give a 'Job Talk', and assist in the preparation
Encourage the Mentee to plan their role as a member of a Committee or Project Team
Visit neighbouring clubs. What do they do differently, what do they do the same? Are their methods better or worse?
Attend Club Council. Who are the key people and how do they influence the club's programme?
Attend District Council. Who are the key people and how do they influence the club's programme? Does the District have its own identifiable programme?
Attend District Conference. Does the club attend en masse? What is the purpose of Conference, and does it achieve it?
As you complete these activities what other activities are you led on to?
If the Mentor needs to give feedback to the Mentee, the most important thing to remember about feedback is: make it constructive
These guidelines might be useful when giving feedback to someone
- Focus feedback on what you have seen, not what you believe
- Focus on behaviour - not personality
- Keep it neutral - don't make a judgement
- Use feedback to inform, not advise - Let others decide on their own actions and so take ownership of them
- Make sure feedback is supportive, not threatening - Focus on the good things first, be respectful and understanding
- Keep it simple and do not overdo it - You do not have to give feedback on all aspects at once
Choose your time
You can communicate your feedback in the most exemplary way ever and yet if you choose the
wrong time or place it will not have any effect on the recipient. Bear the following in mind when
Keep it private - you wouldn't want others listening while someone detailed your development
Choose a 'good day' - we all have bad days sometimes when everything seems to go wrong. Do
not add to someone's stress levels by adding your feedback. When we are in a downcast mood
we are much more likely to take feedback as negative criticism rather than constructive
A 'safe' place - where might be the most convenient place to meet Choose a mutually
comfortable place to meet
Make time - you may not think you have much to say but the recipient may want to discuss the
issues you have raised. Make sure you are not going to be interrupted and that you both have
time for this kind of discussion
'I never teach my pupils: I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.'