Mark Pearl

One of our mentors recently left our org to join another one, while with us they were a mentor in our academy. These were some of the feedback I got from him before he left on the experience of mentoring…

  1. It’s important to have a roadmap. It was really chaotic at the start before we established the learning roadmap. People were going off in all different directions and it was really difficult to evaluate progress.

  2. Mentors should go through the same learning materials before the proteges. I strongly believe in go through the same materials (books, articles, katas, etc) ourselves. It’s important for us to understand what is given to the proteges, so we can first form our own opinion about these materials (do we agree? If not, why not?). As an extra, we might also learn something new. If I had read the Apprenticeship Patterns book, I might have questioned the decision to put “polyglot programmer” as a Level 1 skill.

  3. Co-mentoring is a good thing. Having a co-mentor is a godsend when you get swamped. I would go so far as to encourage the proteges to reach out to any mentor, which they already seem to be doing anyway.

  4. Having the 8th Light coaching workshop was really good. This is specifically around the workshops. As mentors, we are so far along the journey that sometimes we don’t realise what it’s like at the start of the journey. The workshop really helped show some of the important learning aspects that we may not even realise. This is essentially learning to learn, so we can help others learn.

  5. Lastly, on a more personal note, I find it important to establish a working relationship on a peer level instead of a mentor-protege level. This means showing that a mentor is open and approachable, so a protege would feel like she’s approaching a peer to ask a question, instead of someone more senior. This last one may not work for everyone, but I prefer peer-to-peer networks to client-server networks if you get what I mean.

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