By TECgirls contributor Julia Le Gallo
Do you feel confident about your TEC skills? Do you want to share them with others? Do you want to inspire and support more girls like you in a sector you are passionate about?
Then mentoring could be the way forward!
There tend to be fewer women in the tech, engineering and creative sectors, so it's especially important that girls and women stick together, support each other, and inspire others to get involved.
That’s why we set up our TECgirls Mentors scheme – so that older girls can mentor and support younger girls to build their tech knowledge and grow their skills.
How does mentoring work? A mentor can be described as 'a brain to pick, an ear to listen and a push in the right direction'. This means the mentor uses their experience to give advice and guidance to a mentee, enabling the mentee to make more informed choices and learn from someone else.
A mentor is 'a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction'
I’ve seen the value of mentoring from both sides. As a mentee, I learned some extremely good lessons from my mentor’s experience, which helped me get through some pretty challenging situations.
And as a mentor with a level 5 qualification, I support a team of four graduate game developers as part of a national mentorship programme. I answer their questions, give them advice based on my own experience, and keep them motivated.
Five tips for successful mentoring
Whether you're already mentoring someone or you’d like to give it a go, here are five tips that will help you make a success of it.
1. Listen to understand, not to reply
Listen carefully to your mentee to fully understand what they need from you. It will help you process their expectations and select which experience is most relevant to share in order to support them. Ask them questions to narrow down their challenges and needs.
2. Let the mentee lead the conversation
Mentoring works best when the mentee is involved. Encourage them to ask questions and decide what they want to work on. Giving them the responsibility to lead the conversation will empower them and they will get the most out of the experience.
3. Everybody’s different and learns at a different pace
You might give advice to your mentee and show them how to complete a task, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they will follow the advice or be able to do the task. It can feel frustrating at first, but it’s important you keep an open mind and accept they are on their own learning journey, at their own pace.
4. You’re allowed not to know the answer
If your mentee asks a question you don’t know the answer to, don’t panic! You can’t know everything and you’re not expected to. You can be honest and say you don’t know, and ask other mentors or people if they have an answer.
That’s why we at TECgirls have a mentor for our mentors – the awesome Jordan Barkway. Check out her talk on The Magic of Mentorship: Becoming Dumbledore:
5. Use your experience to help build confidence
Mentoring isn’t about telling your mentee what to do, but helping them come up with their own solutions – using your experiences as examples. Through this process, you empower them and help them to build their confidence.
Find out more and get involved!
Mentoring is a rewarding experience for both mentor and mentee. If you think you’d like to mentor someone, check out the resources and programs below:
The Working Lunch Free Mentoring Resource Kit
Girl Gamer Lab: https://girlsgamelab.weebly.com/
STEM Ambassador: https://www.stem.org.uk/stem-ambassadors