A little bit of context…
So, today, I dedicated the vast majority of my schedule to coach and mentor 10 folks via Out of Office Hours, a free mentoring service to help those who want to get into the tech industry.
I signed up because, well, I would have loved to have this type of service when I was younger (even though I was “in” the industry already):
Right now I’m almost half-way through the sessions but I’ve already collected a ton of notes from these new mentees and I wanted to capture a few thoughts for those that might be doing something similar.
In fact, many of these “tips” can be useful to you for any 1-on-1 meeting, whether it’s a personal get-together or a more professional check-in (e.g. Weekly 1:1 Meeting).
But first, here are a few things that went badly:
- Mentee didn’t send a confirmation about the meeting time. Always helpful to make sure that, despite an automated meeting invite, to reach out personally.
- Was late to the meeting. That’s a big no-no. Time is our most valuable asset and there’s no other industry where this is more felt and understood.
- Spelled my name wrong. Ugh. That just feels… wrong.
- Bad audio. A lot of this under your control now so get into a quiet place, not in a public coffee shop, and get some headphones. If the internet is bad, well, then get to a better spot. This goes for in-person meetings as well, of course. Get to a place where you can have an open dialogue and don’t have to yell or whisper.
- Didn’t send an agenda or at least an introduction email. Providing context is helpful and saves a ton of time because instead of spending the first 15 minutes gaining context and hearing a long backstory we can just get down to tactical implementations. I share more about this in the VLOG.
- Didn’t have an “ask” ready. In other words, the mentee wasn’t sure of their goals for the conversation and outcomes.
- Have a backup plan ready for technology to fail. It happens. A lot.
But, in general, I loved having the conversations and was really happy to do it. In fact, I made my VLOG about it today and also shared a few tips on how to maximize the time spent together. Check it:
And, of course, here are the tips below. Remember, these are my personal favorites to ask and to help setup the conversation but many more will do!
5 Questions to Answer in Preparation for a New Mentor:
- Send an intro email, give me context on your background.
- Who do you want to be?
- Where do you want to go?
- How are you going to get there? (Or how do you think you’re going to get there?)
- How can I specifically help?