For a while, I thought it was time for me to start mentoring, helping others. But I always felt that I was not prepared to do it, so I kept postponing this moment as far as I could.
Back in March, Women Who Code London put together an online meeting to talk about mentoring. I was so enthusiastic about it because I would learn what I needed to become a mentor and help others.
But as usual, things didn’t go as I expected: they didn’t have a magical formula that I could use and become a mentor, but they gave me an excellent framework to start from:
- Know each other: make space to introduce ourselves and talk about non-work stuff in every meeting.
- Define a goal: Make sure the mentoree knows what they want to achieve and that this goal could make them grow professionally.
- Find ways to track their progress.
- Timebox the sessions
- Give feedback every session so we can see the actual progress.
This framework was great, but I was still with no mentoree and no courage to apply in that meeting to have one; I thought once again: I’m not prepared.
A week later, when I was in a meeting just for women engineers at work, I got the courage and offered to mentor. And I was relieved when I saw that nobody came forward because after all, you know, I was not prepared 😉 .
And then Vanessa pings me in slack, and everything changes: I realized I can teach and learn a lot. So we adapted the framework to our needs, and since then, we have been meeting every week.
And it has been a fantastic experience! I got lucky with these three mentorees because they all needed different kinds of help from me. So that made me realize that your experience can help others, not just your knowledge. And that each mentoree is different, and that gives these sessions such an enrichment. I have learned a lot in the past few months with these three women, and I hope they have learned something from me too.
I’m grateful to them because they allowed me to teach them, but in reality, they teach me: you don’t realize what you can do to help others until you put yourself out there. So be brave and say you want to help, and all the rest will come naturally. After all, you are already prepared 😉 .