Mentoring is a relationship between the coach and an individual with the aim of personal and/or professional development. It assumes that the mentor has more knowledge and expertise in a particular area than the mentee. It involves listening and giving advice.
In terms of agenda, it is generally more informal or unstructured than a professional coaching relationship. It is often born out of a request or invitation for receiving mentoring.
Mentoring agile role transitions
A professional who had recently transitioned from a development team member into a Scrum Master role approached me asking if she could “pick my brain”. Moreover, she had seen me supporting and growing my team over the years. And she wanted to know some ways she could best support her team. This conversation became the start of our mentoring relationship.
Over ongoing conversations, I listened, and I freely shared advice and guidance based on my own experiences. At the same time, I gave her the discretion to decide the course of her own choosing. That Scrum Master went on to create a vibrant and supportive culture for her team to thrive.
During project execution, it is not uncommon for individuals to need personalized help in their new roles in an Agile environment. As it relates, some additional roles may include Product owner, developer, testing team member, project manager, functional manager, stakeholder.
There is no single defining characteristic for what makes for a great mentor. However, some qualities may include support, generosity, intelligence, kindness, presence, encouragement, and grit.
In thinking back in your own life and career, who were some of your mentors? What qualities come to mind?