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To Whom It May Concern – (TM speech)

“Having mentored for years, Laura has studied Catherine Kram, David Clutterbuck, and Norman Cohen’s works on the very subject. She has been trained by The Princes Trust and delivers workshops on the subject too. She has mentored sixth-formers, CEOs, and the hard to reach unemployed. None of which makes her perfect; every single relationship is different. With her speech entitled To Whom It May Concern, please welcome Laura McHarrie”


Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

At the end of each Pathways Mentor Programme activities the mentor receives an evaluation of their performance by their mentee. Madam President, Madam Toastmasters, fellow toastmasters, this is a transcript of mine from Dave Smith …

To Whom It May Concern

You have asked for a testament as to Laura McHarrie’s proficiency at being a mentor.

Let me say first and foremost she is an absolute nightmare.  That is if you are not too keen on being held accountable. And many of us aren’t!

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I volunteered to work through the new Pathways Mentoring programme with her.  Right from the start, she got me thinking so hard about stuff that it hurt my brain.

I had other options, but I chose to tap into her previous experience in the role of vice-president of Public Relations.  A word of warning. … be careful about what you wish for.

She asks you killer questions! They take you down a direction that you hadn’t previously thought of. They challenge you to take up opportunities or they guide you on a different school of thought.  Then she follows those killer questions with one of those long pauses.

Ha! You have no choice but to fill in space and time, with whatever comes into your head.  Ok, she did have some helpful suggestions to kick start the thinking process but these were just as tough.

Those killer questions really make you cringe but they most often get to the crux of an issue. 

And then, there are those conflated lists of things I somehow agreed that I would do before we next met. Don’t think you’ll ever get away with anything, cos she’ll have made an infernal note of it and, as sure as eggs are eggs, she’ll want a progress update, the next time you meet. No blame nor judgment; if you haven’t done it, just be sure to get it done the next time you meet.

Oh yes … don’t you dare be late, she won’t be!!! She’ll look up from her notes, she has been reviewing, as you walk in, and give you the nod. Not vindictive of course but just so you know that that wasn’t the time that was agreed.

I thought that I’d get some breathing space when the pandemic forced our Toastmaster meetings online.  No point in promoting the club meetings when we can’t actually meet – is there?

It, the pandemic did put a hold a lot of the plans that we had discussed. But no!  She was relentless, She had me sharing the online meeting on Dorchester Facebook groups.  I never thought in a million years, I’d become an online marketer.  But I did!

For me, getting the engagement and commitment from the other committee members to support the PR activities was my biggest achievement.  I didn’t realise how much team help I needed.   What’s more, the club has committed to creating teams to support the Education, Membership and PR committee members next year.

She is demanding, she’s pedantic and she’s persistent.  Would I recommend her as a mentor?  Hell yes!

Yours faithfully

Dave Smith

Speech 2 from the Pathways Mentor Program (optional) manual – Advanced Mentoring.
This project is designed to support you as you accomplish a six-month term as a mentor.
The purpose of this project is to apply mentoring skills during a long-term mentoring commitment.

Fulfill the role of mentor for a fellow Toastmaster or another person for a period of six months. Communicate regularly with your protégé, record meeting dates and times, and give and receive feedback both verbally and in writing. At the end of your commitment, present a 5- to 7-minute speech to your club about what you gained as a mentor. This speech is about you and your experience.

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