For Mentors

Thanks for offering to mentor a student

It’s great that you’re prepared to share your experiences with someone who is starting out in User Experience.

Here’s who I think you are:

  • Someone who is in the UX field already.
  • Not a super-senior role, but someone who knows the job (2+ years experience).
  • Preferably local to the mentee, or at least familiar with how companies in that area work.
  • Able to commit to two one-hour sessions per month, for a period of around 8 months.

What is expected of you

Mentoring is normally a way to help prepare mentees for the world of work. This is where you may be able to offer the most benefit beyond what the syllabus teaches.

It is up to your mentee to drive the relationship. They should have read this post.

It’s up to you to manage the mentee’s expectations. Make it clear what you can and can’t provide for them, when, and how.

  • Read through the syllabus. Understand what is required of students in order to pass.
  • During mentoring sessions, ask what your mentee wants to talk about, then share your experiences with the topic.
  • Provide advice where you can. You don’t have to have all the answers, but it’s helpful if you can share the resources you use to find answers.
  • Your role is NOT to do your mentee’s coursework for them. It’s OK to reflect questions back or ask what they have tried already.
  • If you would like to review your mentee’s homework or project work, that’s great. However it’s not expected.

If you find that this mentor-mentee relationship isn’t working for you, please talk with your mentee about it. If possible, help them find a more suitable mentor.

Some definitions might help

Mentoring involves sharing your experiences with someone to help them understand a concept – especially the practical application of that concept.

  • An example might be tips on how to present to a sceptical audience. After asking questions to get to the root of the issue, the mentor might recount their experiences, say what worked for them, and ask the mentee open-ended questions to help them think about a solution to their own situation.

Coaching involves teaching a topic, setting an exercise to be performed, and then providing feedback on how well the student performed that exercise.

  • An example might be how to answer difficult questions in an interview. The coach might explain the basic tactics for answering, then pose example questions to the student. After hearing the student’s answer, the coach would suggest alternative answers.

Obviously mentors can be coaches too. Typically though I see mentoring as an unpaid activity where people give back for the advice they’ve received in the past. Coaching is more often a paid activity. There are sites where mentors can charge for their time. Really though, what they are doing is offering coaching.