Here is a quick refresher on the differences between Sponsors and Mentors.
1 page PDF here from Maryann Baumgarten, (previously of Stanford and now at Facebook)
Female engineers at the 2, 3, 4 levels
Introduce them to engineers, at least 2 levels beyond, who can help them with
The mentees should initiate most of the meetings and topic proposals that they are willing to talk about and work on.
Meetings should be regular (60 minutes a week) to start, until the 6th week.
Managers for mentee and mentor should be informed and help support the effort.
Mentors try to honor the 1:1 meetings time and postpone only if absolutely necessary.
Any side should disengage and politely thank the other side, if the match does not work out. Reach out to folks running the program for help in disengaging.
All conversation topics are confidential unless explicitly given permission to share.
(follow up to part 2 of tech mentorship)
What does a success mentorship look like?
What does failure look like?
Continue from Part 1 https://tonytam.org/2019/04/07/proposal-for-technical-mentorship-draft-1/
Target audience : P2, P3, P4
Guidelines for matching : 2 levels separation
Why be a mentee ? Ask question of someone who have been where you are at, give you a perspective that you normally don’t see, spend time with you to help you grow technically in a safe space. This person is not in your direct chain of command so there is less at stake.
Why be a mentor? It’s what we expect of our senior leaders. Part of expanding your impact in our organization. Giving you another fresh perspective that you might not be exposed to? You can learn to communicate better, again, by having exposure to different perspectives.
What role do managers play?
How do we know if things are going well or not? Is the match working out or not for both sides?
Put yourself in the shoes of the other. When was the last time you put yourself out there and you asked for help and was rejected? Regardless of how nice the rejecting was, how did you feel about yourself?
Now look at the person asking for help. How much of your ‘precious’ time and energy does it take to help them and give them more help than they even initially ask for? Did you spend 30 minutes watching a YouTube video? Did you spend 30 minutes scrolling through your Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest feed? Can you honestly say that the 30 minutes of infinite scrolling was more valuable than helping a person who was courageous enough to reach out for help?
Now get out there and help. Set expectations low and over deliver.
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You are someone who would like to mentor someone else in their professional career to help them grow their influence and impact.
More Comprehensive Reference Material
Benefits Of Mentoring
How to Become a Mentor
Being a mentor usually requires you to dedicate a minimum of 6 months to 2 years to your mentee. I’ve even seen 3 to 4 years of commitment. Weekly check-ins are usually a healthy way to see how each other is doing, handle any urgent questions and build up a level of trust and habit.
Start By Building Trust
The first meeting is crucial to the success of the ongoing mentoring relationship. For the mentor, it’s their job to be open to listening, come prepared, be honest, show commitment and most importantly build trust. At this point of the mentor/mentee relationship, the mentee has the most to lose and is the most vulnerable.
I can’t emphasize this enough: build trust first before moving forward on working on goals. If you don’t feel like there is enough commitment, keep on working on the personal relationship so that there is genuine care taken on both sides.
Keep everything confidential, even with the mentee’s manager. If you want to communicate and talk about the mentorship, take the time to ask for permission before disclosing any information to others. Do not even disclose the mentorship unless both parties are in agreement to do so.
Ask For Clarity Of Goals
Usually, a mentee wants to reach a career goal but is unsure about how they can get there. After trust has been built, ask them what they would like to get out of your time together.
Listen And Reflect On The Goals
Listen, don’t talk. Make no judgement on the goals themselves. Stop and listen. This is what I work on for myself. Then after the mentee is done talking, summarize back what you heard.
Your Job As A Mentor Is Simple But Difficult
How To Mentor Software Engineers
With software engineers, start with explaining how the corporate game is played: there are players in the game (peers, product managers, managers, manager’s manager, VP, other more senior people), and there are rules of the game (HR policies on evaluation, software job family and level guides). You want your mentee to learn how the corporate game is played: what are the rules for evaluation? What are the rules for getting promoted. Who is in the room when they are evaluated?
Then, recommend a process of self-evaluation, where the engineer ranks themselves on how they are performing at their current level and at the next level. Software engineers are promoted when they operate at the next level. Have them print out their corporate job definition and spend 2-3 hours going through each of the skills and talk through why they rank themselves at that level.
I also recommend an exercise where they “project” into the future. Ask them to imagine themselves in two years: What are they doing more of, less of? Ask them about the people they are interacting with: How have those interactions shifted over the years? What are they spending their time doing? What will they enjoy doing in two years? What do they not want to be doing?
A Question Worth A Few Weeks Of Time: What Is Your Brand?
Ask this question to get them to explore how they want their co-workers to perceive them as at work. Ask: What do you want to be known for within your organization? Another way to approach this question is to ask them about the top three values they want to hold on to. Values are self-imposed rules that you follow even when nobody is watching.
Questions You Might Ask When Mentoring a Software Engineer
– What steps could you take to be a more effective communicator in meetings? For example, you could set goals like preparing ahead for all meetings, or speaking up or ask one question in every meeting. Don’t be afraid to take initiative in a meeting, take notes, or put ideas on the whiteboard.
– What could you do to focus on improving your own iteration speed? Then, how could you help others with theirs?
– How can you make your job obsolete? Can you automate, document, train someone else? This opens up opportunities for you to take on something bigger.
– How can you make your manager’s job super easy? What can you do so that your manager just can’t help but give you a raise, promote you to the next level, or give you a stretch assignment? 1:1’s can be quite productive if you are always asking thoughtful questions.
– What would it mean for you to take on 110% and stretch yourself? There are always breaks where you can work on multiple things at once.
– What can you do to heighten your love for your job? Can you look at it from different perspectives? Can you increase the quality of your work? Can you see your work as part of solving a bigger problem?
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