Strategies for Mentoring: Take it from a Mentor!

January 25, 2024 in , ,
By Kristoffer Garringer

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Providing advice and guidance and teaching technical skills across FMP has been a positive and great experience for me. When I first started mentoring, I started with a Power BI mentor group, and I held multiple monthly sessions on how to leverage Power BI to build visualizations. Now, I’m mentoring even more people on other technical skill sets across different teams. As you can imagine, mentor and mentee relationships can range vastly depending on the context and requirements of the mentee’s needs. With that in mind, I thought that I would provide some quick strategies for developing technical skills that I’ve personally applied while at FMP below.

  • Concisely list the steps involved and break down the technical skills/process. Having too many steps or cramming the entire technical process into one working session can be overwhelming. The more you can reduce the process into digestible segments or sessions, the more likely it is the individual will retain more information. Also, it gives you the opportunity as the mentor to identify any quirks that they might need to be aware of.
  • Schedule follow-up working sessions after teaching how to perform functions. It’s hard to learn new technical skills and concepts the first time, so it’s important to give the individual time to process what you’re trying to teach them and follow up to reinforce learnings.
  • Flex your teaching style. Meaning, one teaching mechanism/size does not fit all situations or people. Some individuals are hands on learners while others might be visual learners or a combination of both. Be mindful of how the individual prefers to learn.
  • Flex scheduled meetings and working sessions. As silly as it sounds, I never want people to feel pressured to join a meeting. However, consistency in meetings is key, so if one of you must delay or reschedule a standing meeting, when you do meet next, be sure as the mentor to refresh the learned concepts from the previous working session.
  • Create use case scenarios. Synthesizing technical skills with everyday activities or job functions is a great way to reinforce skills and concepts. I found that it not only forces the individual to apply the technical skill, but it makes a stronger impact if they can apply it to their everyday activities or responsibilities.
  • Record working sessions. I often record any working sessions where I’m teaching technical skills to mentee. This is so my mentees can go back to the recording just in case they missed a step or are seeking any clarification on points made during the sessions.
  • Provide external resources or written documents. Sometimes you might not have written notes or have a readily available document to serve as a guide for your mentee. In these cases, it might be more efficient and helpful to provide external resources and websites that they can reference in the future.

Mentorship is a vital mechanism for building relationships and learning and development, and it’s important to recognize that there is no one size fits all. Whether you’re a mentor or a mentee, I hope the tips above are helpful to you as you shape and grow your mentoring relationship.

Kristoffer Garringer
Kristoffer Garringer

Kristoffer Garringer, DBA, has 19 years of professional experience in public and private industries, and currently serves as FMP’s Controller and provides human capital consulting services at the National Science Foundation. Since starting at FMP, he has created business intelligent dashboards using Tableau and Power BI and implementing Dynamics 365 platform solutions. When he has free time, he enjoys listening to music, reading, traveling, working out, cooking, and spending time with close friends and family.