Becoming a mentor for a 3-month mentorship programme

by | Aug 21, 2020

RoleDesign Mentor
CategoryCoaching, User Experience
DateMay 2020 – August 2020

My Role

I joined LevelUP! Round 2 mentorship programme organised by NTU Career & Attachment Office (CAO) to coach 2 NTU undergraduates who are interested to learn hard skills relevant to the IT industry. Throughout the 3-month programme, I taught the students UX, UI, Design Thinking process and Agile Scrum methodology:

  • Provided career advice, shared industry insights and study tips
  • Helped students to discover their current strengths and weaknesses
  • Set up an action plan and enable students to set achievable goals
  • Prepared presentation slides and other course materials for bi-weekly topic sharing sessions
  • Gave a total of 4 assignments to aid their learning
  • Conducted review sessions to improvise their deliverables
  • Invited 3 industry professionals to share their career journies and topics such as front-end development and project management
My second virtual meeting with the students in May 2020

The Process

Goal Setting

Before accepting the students as my mentee, I used the Mentor Canvas as a starting point to understand the students better. This canvas is modified by a UX designer based on the Business Model Canvas used in Agile/UX workshops.

Our first post-it activity

Career Exploration

During our first meeting, the students filled up a survey for me to better understand their interests and behaviours. Using their responses as a guide, I suggested some relevant jobs in the IT field.

Career exploration survey

Actionable Plan

I worked with the students to set up an actionable plan. To make the sharing sessions more productive, the students are required to self-study and prepare questions prior to our meetings. Each lesson came with a new assignment to practise what they have learned.

An actionable plan to meet the students’ goals.

Topic Sharing Sessions

Other than creating a presentation deck, I also prepared course materials such as Adobe XD demo files, online resources and additional self-study links to strengthen the students’ understanding of the new concepts.

Hands-On Assignments

The students had 2 weeks to complete each assignment. I introduced the use of Kanban boards for progress tracking.

A simplified version of the Kanban board

Review Sessions

During each review session, the students presented their work before I shared some general feedback for improvements. Additional comments would come in after I go through individual deliverable in detailed.

Materials crafted to support my feedback

Retrospective Sessions

Initially, I had a 1-1 retrospective session with the students. However, I wanted to simulate a Sprint retrospective experience where multiple people can share their feedback, therefore I changed it to a group retrospective session (although they were given solo assignments).

The 3 retrospective questions and actions to-be taken

Additional Study Resources

Aside from the topics taught, I also gave the students some study materials and keywords to explore themselves.

Resources beyond the initial discussed scopes

(My Personal) Evaluation by Mentees

After every topic sharing session, I let the students filled up a course feedback survey to state what I should improve on and how I can improve their learning experience.

Survey after a sharing session

The Outcome

(My Personal) Feedback from Mentees

In our final meeting, I let the students filled up an evaluation survey on everything that has been shared throughout the 3-month programme

Survey at the end of this 3-month programme

(Official) Feedback by Mentees

The following reviews were submitted to NTU CAO:

(From left) Yong Xin, Rui Jie & I
One of my mentee won himself a best reflection award (selected from 74 students)
Reflection by another mentee

My Learnings

Being a mentor has made me a better communicator. In order to introduce a technical term to my young audience, I had to explain the context in a language appropriate to their skill level.

Throughout these 3 months, I felt that I have become a more disciplined person during non-working hours. Aside from preparing decks for each sharing session, I had to invest some time in researching and validating my industry knowledge before structuring my thoughts into a presentation flow.

Overall, it was a great learning opportunity for me too.

our first face-to-face meetup in Aug 2020
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