What to share?
You can mentor on anything that can be shared. Share knowledge, experiences, general advice, specific domain advice, encouragement, questions, connections, and more.
Inspired by mentorship styles this is not an exhaustive list, but a compilation to get the gears turning if looking for inspiration.
- share what you know
- what you think others should know
- things that most do not know
- crucial things that cannot be found in books/online
Share your stories
One of my favorite things I’ve done is speak at organizations like Girls Who Code and All Star Code. I shared how in my journey to tech, there were times when I asked myself: do I belong, am I good enough, am I passionate enough. Hearing how some felt the same way too and feeling encouraged from my stories was motivating.
🗣 General advice
Talk about the broader topics, such as:
- career advancement
- performance reviews
- entering an industry
- growing in an industry
- navigating office politics
- people-side of things
- leveling up in a role
🛠 Specific domain advice
- specific frameworks/concepts
- languages, tools, testing, architecture, and more
- product, business, design, UX
People have different preferences
I personally enjoy mentoring those entering/switching to the tech industry. As well as applying psychology in our daily day. On the other hand, I have a friend who can talk for hours on anything related to serverless. Another friend makes herself available to new joiners when they’re learning her team's codebase.
- active listening
- creating psychologically safe spaces
- frequent and regular encouragement
- via emails, messages
- remind them of how talented and remarkable they are
Active listening and encouragement
I was helping someone apply to jobs. She felt apprehensive because she thought her background in music would be looked down upon. We brainstormed strategies and I reminded her that her skills would speak for themselves. And that her background with music was actually a big plus.
Really, I was just actively listening, providing encouragement, and helping build her confidence. She did all the hard stuff and commend her for it. She’s now happily employed.
You do not have to have all the answers. Questions can be powerful.
- insightful questions that spur additional critical thinking
- question that inspire further reflection, introspection, and action
Connections can be people and resources.
- connect people to one another
- connect to your favorite books, media, events, and programs
- connect to opportunities
Intention is helpful too
I was asked for advice on deciding between to job offers. I connected him with a friend who previously worked at one of the companies he was looking at so he can an extra point of reference.
The intention of trying to help is important and valuable as well. I was asked if I knew any people in Berlin tech industry. I didn’t, so I reached out to friends of friends. Unfortunately, I haven’t found someone yet, but the intention was there.
Often, when I meet people who do not know each other, but I think they should, I ask each if it's okay to connect them. Wonderful, now you've connected two worlds!