Finding a mentor can be incredibly rewarding at any stage in your career, especially when you are starting out in the big wide world of software engineering. There are many benefits for both the mentor and mentoree including:
- Learning from great experience and expertise
- Honest a critical feedback
- Focus to grow
- Sharing successes and failures
Mentoring relationships are often born from official mentoring schemes from employers, but sometimes they can organically evolve from existing relationships that you have in your industry. In either situation, a good understanding of what the aims of the relationship are can help both get the most out of it.
The current mentoring framework that I use with a mentor of mine looks something like the following:
- Sponsor - Help to open doors, connect with different networks and get introduced to other people who can help you.
- Teach - Recommend areas of learning (books, websites, articles) and share knowledge and experience.
- Inspire - Help to set useful goals (both short and long term career goals), and help support and validate them.
- Counsel - Help to deal with problems and conflict, and sometimes act as an advisor if needed.
A mentorship can sometimes be tough for a variety reasons. There are a few requirements to remember to help keep it smooth sailing.
- Consistency - Keep those weekly/monthly happening. Find a time and a place that works for both of you and stick to it.
- Confidentiality - Take everything as confidential unless stated otherwise and never act without the other’s permission.
- Keep expectations realistic - You likely can’t expect 24 hour support for every question you have or every problem you face.
- Empowerment - Focus on becoming empowered to tackle things yourself, rather than asking for solutions.
It’s not much, but agreeing on a few goals and rules to follow in a mentorship can make sure you both get the most out of a super rewarding experience.