Through my experience in the IT industry, I have experienced on my own that a high-quality mentorship is a key for rapid personal development.
Since I have initially turned my sails towards the web development island, I have been on the receiving end of some kind of mentorship relation. It has never been completely defined and it has more often than not lost its structure after a couple of months - closely related to the onboarding process.
Nevertheless, I have reaped the mentorship benefits greatly. The mentors I was assigned with served as an inspiration to me - both from the technical side and from the “way of thinking” side. I have tried to learn from them as much as possible, until one day I’ve started to feel confident enough to pave my own path.
As my skills developed, I have started to become more and more independent and started to discover things on my own.
And I was like:
Nice, I know everything now.
Oh boy, was I wrong…
The one thing I started to know more and more is that I know how much I don’t know.
Once the mentorship has watered down, my mentors started to serve me more as guidelines, than a knowledge source. Over the years, I have become mostly independent in my work, as in my development, but mentors were still there. We have developed a healthy peer relationship.
From time to time, when I was stuck on something, I have developed a healthy habit of asking my mentors for their opinion and possible guidelines, which was enough to get unstuck but to solve my issues by myself.
With time, I started to feel like I wanted to share my knowledge with someone - I knew it was time.
I genuinely enjoy sharing my knowledge with others, especially the ones that seek it.
I have started to be more enrolled in the mentor position, but then, COVID struck and with it, the remote work era started.
The situation altogether was scary. Everyone was afraid of and for everyone, including themselves.
Time has shown that it could be worse, and life started to get back to normal, one small step at a time.
Our team was communicating very little, our knowledge wasn't being shared, interpersonal relationships were non-existent out of the daily work scope.
That was my time to shine and to try bringing our team back to its previous glory. Encouraged by my previous experience & my need to be a mentor, I’ve come up with some kind of a mentorship program which was highly accepted and greatly beneficial.
The concept behind it is simple:
- Everyone is assigned with a mentor
- Preferably a mentor that is working in a similar tool or technology - so, technology facing mentor
- Fallback is a soft skill mentor - i.e. CTO is a mentor to the iOS development team lead
- You can mentor max 3 people at a time
- It is not fixed - you can transfer to a new mentor
- Every mentor-mentee combo is awarded a 30-minute weekly mentorship slot
- If they wish they can merge it into a single bi-weekly 1-hour slot
- Topics are either predefined by the mentee or brought by the mentor
- If a mentee wants to learn something specific or needs help with an issue, he should announce it beforehand so the mentor can prepare for it
- If a mentee doesn’t have anything specific, the mentor can bring his own stuff to the table
- If no one has any knowledge related topics, a casual catching up is always a valid option - but try your best to learn something new from time to time
- Evolve 😉
This program has resulted in knowledge sharing improvement, personal development boost, our work quality increase & interpersonal relationships forming.
I would suggest that every team invests a bit more in its mentoring program, the ROI is most definitely higher than expected.