Being a Mentee

Are you ready to ask for a mentor?

According to research, the top mentee-attributable causes for failure in the mentorship process are:


  • Not being open to feedback
  • Not sharing sufficient information about what's blocking you.
  • Unwillingness to reach out
  • Unrealistic needs
  • Lack of motivation
  • Lack of follow up

Before starting to look for a mentor, examine your own trajectory and ask yourself honestly if you have the time to commit serious and regularly to the Agora educational model.  Having a mentor is a much more intense activity than attending club meetings or training courses.

Make sure that you do have the necessary time not only to attend club meetings but also to have sessions with your future mentor and do the "homework" tasks he will assign to you.

Mentors are also simply Agora members that volunteer and they have absolutely no obligation as such to act as mentors to anyone. There's nothing more frustrating or disappointing to a mentor than to see a mentee that lacks the desire, seriousness or discipline to follow through -  skips meetings, or doesn't show up or is always late at mentoring sessions, or never comes with completed tasks.

A mentor is also going to provide you with much more direct and probably more honest feedback than an evaluator, especially because the interaction is going to be one on one. Again, ask yourself honestly - are you ready to accept honest feedback that you might not like? Are you ready to apply it?  If you're asking someone to be your mentor, you're acknowledging that they’re more experienced and knowledgeable than you are. Take their advice as a gift instead of disregarding it (or worse - taking it personally).
Finally, consider what your expectations are and whether they are realistic. Do you expect that after the mentorship process you'll be able to speak in front of a thousand people and charge $200K per event? Do you expect that a mentor is going to prepare you in one week for that life-or-death public speaking event? If so, what you need is someone that can do miracles rather than a mentor.

Mentorship does not decrease the amount of effort and time you will have to invest - it makes it much larger. If your expectations are that a mentor will do part of the work you have to do, that's also unrealistic.

How to find a mentor

Ideally, you should find a mentor from your close environment —your own clubs or clubs in the same city— so that you and your mentor can have the possibility of meeting in person. That will not always be possible, though, especially for new clubs in an area where everyone is inexperienced.

Fear not, for we live in the XXIst century and with communication tools such as Whatsapp, Telegram, Skype, Zoom, etc.,  distance is no longer a problem and the whole Agora community is at your disposal.

Regardless of the physical location of the mentor, you should follow the same procedure:


  • Find an Agora member whose style and way of speaking/leading you like. Beware: Don't just pick for example the latest contest winner. He may have a speaking style completely different from yours. The mentor should be a lot more experienced than you, but he should also have a style that's close to yours. Maybe you love using stories in your speeches? Maybe you're very assertive when leading? Maybe you love word games? Props? Use criteria like these when selecting your mentor, instead of "he won this or that contest, or he's an Agora leader".
  • If you absolutely can't find anyone, ask your Vice President  Education for advice, or use the #mentorship channel on the Agora Chat to ask for help.  Note: In the future, there will be a special area of the Agora Online platform that will centralize these requests
  • Once you've identified a candidate, reach out politely requesting the person to be your mentor. Consider the process similar to a job application, because usually good mentors have a lot of requests. Don't just fire off an EMail saying "Hey, bro, can you be my mentor?". Instead, introduce yourself, provide some background information and explain why you're choosing him or her as your mentor. Always provide several options to contact you - don't try to force a particular way of communicating with the mentor. Instead of "Please call me on this phone, 4 pm to 5 pm", suggest  "I can be reached by phone, Whatsapp, Skype or EMail. Here's my full contact info. What would be your preferred way?"

The  Mentorship Commitment - Giving back

As Santiago Becerra —Agora Ambassador to Spain— likes to say, "the more you invest in the club, the more you get for yourself". That's so much true with mentorship. Once you've experienced one side of the mentor-mentee relationship, try being a mentor yourself.  You'll discover that not only you'll develop a much deeper understanding of Agora, public speaking, and leadership, but you'll probably build lasting professional and maybe even personal relationships.

Contributors to this page: agora .
Page last modified on Wednesday December 4, 2019 23:45:56 CET by agora.