Top 10 Reasons You Should Be a DTM Mentor

It’s our 10th episode anniversary – 10th show for District 10!

Top 10 Reasons why you should be a DTM Mentor.

If you’ve been listening to this podcast, you’ll know that I mention that I’m the only DTM Mentorship Chair in the world.

You Should Be a DTM Mentor

Why do I get the title?  I asked for it!  This doesn’t count as a district office, so I don’t get to count it toward another Advanced Leadership Silver.  Hey, International!  I think you could help a girl out here.

After I got the three magic letters after my name, what else was I going to do?

I know there are people who have gotten a second or even a third DTM, but that’s not me.  I looked at the work to do it again and said – er – no thanks.  Once has been enough for me.

In the Stark Community club, five of us started working together on our DTMs in 2010.  Laura Dressler was the last to complete her DTM.  She asked me questions about what she needed to do next – just because I was a bit further down the DTM road than she was.

I realized that what other people had done for me, showing me the ropes, telling me what I could be doing next, inviting me to join them – was what I was doing with Laura.  When Marsha Friedman decided to retire as the world’s first DTM mentorship chair, I asked if I could have the job.

Helping others work toward their goals has encouraged me to stay.  I see the value of keeping our experienced DTMs in Toastmasters.  District 10 has created the “Mentorship Chair” to help our members succeed and our clubs get the advanced awards needed for the Distinguished Club Program.

But what is a DTM Mentor?

A DTM mentor is anyone who encourages another member to achieve their DTM.  The requirements for the job are pretty simple: know the education program and the steps to the DTM, and preferably, a willingness to help out on tasks or projects when assistance is needed.  The mentor does not have to have a DTM:  we have peer to peer mentorships as well as mentor/protégé relationships.  This relationship is defined by the two members – how often they meet, how much assistance is given is up to the team.

The category tonight is Top 10 Reasons for YOU to be a DTM Mentor.  Helping me tonight is District 10 immediate Past District Governor, Debora Curtis.  Debbie is a member of Playhouse Toastmasters and Hall of Fame Toastmasters Advanced Club.  She received her first DTM in 2010and will receive her second at the District 10 Spring 2015 Conference.

Top 10 reasons you should be a DTM Mentor:

Number 10:  Mentoring counts toward the Competent Leadership Manual.

The mentoring requirement specifically mentions 3 speeches.  I’m looking at the manual right now and there are two choices – mentor an existing member with their next three speaking and/or leadership projects – so that might include chairing a contest or a membership building project.  The other choice is being a mentor for someone’s High Performance Leadership project.  You can be a part of the High Performance Leadership guidance committee.

There’s no restriction on guidance committee memberships.  You don’t have to have completed your HPL to serve on someone’s committee.  So yes, the peer mentor can serve in this way – and get credit for it.

It was funny to me that once I finished my HPL, I saw multitudes of opportunities for my fellow Toastmasters to use the HPL in their personal or professional lives.

Number 9:  Your protégé is not limited to your home club.

It is more convenient – when I was working toward my DTM, my mentors were right beside me.  I had someone telling me what to do next the entire time I was on the track – which meant I had someone reminding me to get a district office probably a year before I would have thought about it.

But you can mentor anyone – even across the country.  One of my mentors is in Arizona.   I’m mentoring someone up in the Cleveland area.  Because the relationship is more advisory than hands on, the distance doesn’t have to be an issue.

Peer mentors often come from the same club.  We’ve seen this happen twice at Stark Community Club, and another team has started their quest as well.  We have two mentors in the club who are helping out these members.  I think we’ll see several of them with DTM after their names before the Revitalized Education Program takes over.

Top 10 Reasons to be a DTM Mentor:

Number 8:  What’s the right way to get a DTM?

I have heard of someone who was told he was going too fast toward his DTM – he’d only be in Toastmasters for 5 years.  Well, that’s a problem, since TI itself had a link to a 2 year DTM path up on the old website for years.

There is no minimum time for getting a DTM outside of the timed requirements – 6 months as a club officer, and then 12 months as a district officer.  There is no maximum time, either.  It’s the time that a Toastmaster takes to complete – long or short – the tasks.  The toastmaster decides his rate.

But it’s not up to the DTM mentor – or anyone else – to set a timetable.  There are plenty of “traditions” that some think are rules.  A mentor has to know the rules –  and what’s not in the rules.

Number 7: Mentoring can be like being Dear Abby.

In order to keep someone on track from some unpleasant surprises, mentors advise their protégés to help them get to their goals.   So many questions!

The most frequently asked question I’ve heard – can I do Speechcraft or the Youth Leadership Program as my High Performance Leadership Project?  Not according to International.  Speechcraft and the Youth Leadership Program do not qualify for HPL projects.  The Youth Leadership Program will count toward the Advanced Communicator Gold.

If you’ve got your DTM – you already know much of what these upcoming Toastmasters need to know.  You can answer the questions.  Peer mentors share their experiences and information.  Dear Abby has her crew of advisors and experts.  So do we.

Number 6:  Ambition doesn’t end with a DTM.

The contests and conferences introduce us to the wider world of Toastmasters outside of our clubs.  Working on your DTM probably opened you up to a new dimension of Toastmasters– the district. Serving as a district officer – often as an area governor – we get our first glimpse of the larger structure, and you know, for some of us, that’s just as interesting as the club level.

Maybe you should be considering moving into one of the top offices – the trio, treasurer, secretary or public relations officer.  Division governors.  Some of those are elected officers and… let’s just be a bit blunt about this – your protégés are going to vote for you.

Number 5: Do you want to be a power broker?

Did you know that part of the job of being an area or division governor is finding your replacement?

Yes, it is.  Unfortunately, most governors don’t know this fact until far too late to be able to develop the relationships with other members who may be interested until too late.

A mentor can help network – making introductions or even nominating their protégé for a district office.  Peer mentors can “pass” a job on to a fellow team member.

Top Ten Reasons to be a DTM Mentor: 

Number 4: New area governors are new.  Really new.

Granted, some area governors have served before in this role.  They know the ropes, but the vast majority of them don’t.  When they get the call that says “my club is falling apart” – do they know what to do?  Who to call?  And those area governor reports – the bane of the area governor existence.  Do they know how to fill them out?

As for contests, unless they’ve run a contest in their clubs, running the area contests or the division contests are new experiences.  And let’s talk TLI, shall we?  The division governors I’ve worked with depend on their area governors for help finding speakers for the TLIs as well as the other practical work of getting locations, food and making sure the clubs in the division know the where and when.  Having a mentor for these tasks makes everything so much easier.

Number 3:  Sponsors and Mentors and Coaches, Oh My!

A knowledgeable mentor can point out this requirement is not restricted in time.  International keeps these records forever.  If a new member wants to start a new club at work and all they’ve done is a couple of the CC speeches, they can still sponsor a new club and if they go for the DTM, they’ve got the requirement covered.  No one has to wait to be an Advanced Leader Bronze to complete this requirement.

Sponsorship – starting up a new club – can be easy when the district Lt. Gov. Marketing has a kickoff meeting scheduled – or it can be hard, starting a local community club from nothing.

Mentoring a club is time-consuming; the new club has chartered but possibly has all new Toastmasters who don’t know how to run a meeting or how to work on the Distinguished Club Program.  This is an ideal option for peer mentors to work together.

Coaching is blood, sweat and tears if the club president doesn’t want a coach – or it can be as simple as helping them to find ways to get new members.  None of these choices is simple – a mentor can help a Toastmaster decide which they want to do.

Number 2:     What’s in it for me?

The mentorship isn’t a one-way street.  In the various mentoring materials from Toastmasters, the point is made – mentoring isn’t just for the benefit of the one getting the counsel. Mentors benefit from new ideas and new perspectives.  Developing leadership skills includes mentoring because good leaders aren’t just about achieving success at tasks but building relationships.  That’s what keeps clubs going and growing.

And the Number One Reason for You to be a DTM Mentor:

 Number 1:  Stick around – you’re not done yet.

It’s pretty easy to step back once that medal is around a DTM’s neck.  What’s there left to do?

Every time we lose a DTM because they think there’s nothing left for them –  no new goal –  we lose a wealth of experience and knowledge.  Despite what some people might think, the DTM doesn’t make us perfect speakers.  It makes us experienced – yes.  But perfect?  No.  I won’t even give you good – because there’s a mindset out there that DTM means “don’t time me” or some other excuse for no longer working to improve.   Toastmasters is not pass/fail – it’s continually improve.  Working on advanced manuals – even repeating them – to  improve your public speaking skills and continuing to develop leadership with new challenges – that’s what Toastmasters was when we started with our first icebreaker – and it continues to be the same.

I’m not nearly as funny as David Letterman’s writers, but that’s tonight’s Top Ten list.

Thanks to District 10 for our 10th podcast!  In podcasting, this is a significant milestone – making it into double digits.  Thanks to you, our listeners, as well, for helping us get this far.  Thanks to Debbie Curtis – I appreciate the help!

Our music today is from – truly a wonderful site!

We’d love to hear from you about your DTM experiences – as a mentor or as a traveler down this road.  You can reach us through our contact page on our website

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