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How mentoring sharpens your core leadership skills

Welcome to 2021! I wish you a happy, healthy & successful year ahead. 2020 got a lot of bad rap. But rarely do we acknowledge how far it pushed us. In just 12 months, we adopted more technology than ever, made scientific breakthroughs like the vaccine, and stood together for social liberties like never before. Not to forget, The Mentoring Club is also a product of this time.  As I was reflecting on the bright side of 2020 , I couldn’t help appreciate how mentoring has personally benefited me in my role as product director, and brought joy through giving whatever little I've learned. So 30 sessions later, I wanted to share how mentoring helped me become a stronger product leader.  1. Mentoring amplified my analytical and critical thinking ability. Every conversation brings new perspectives, situations and challenges to the table. What worked (or didn’t) for me, in my context, is valuable but can’t be applied as is to the mentee's. Take a look below at some of the topics &am
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What I learned in my first year as a manager

Last December I made the leap to being a manager, having been a software engineer for 4 years previously. As a mentor, I'm sometimes asked about this choice. Some days my answer is "I love it", some days I say "I hate it and I want to go back", but always my answer is "I've learned a lot". Here's some lessons I learned so that hopefully, you'll make the choice wisely and won't make the same mistakes I did in your first year. 1. No one knows what they’re doing When I first became a software engineer, it seemed like everyone knew what they were doing all the time and I felt hugely intimidated asking any questions. This was something I spent most of that job working through and suffered from some anxiety whenever I needed to ask for help. This is now my number one thing I tell engineers who are new to the industry - seriously, ask the damn question. You can ask it now and bother someone with no time wasted, or you can spend another 8 hou

What it takes to move to Product Management from another function successfully.

When I reflect on all the mentoring sessions that I have had so far, I can say that the different sessions couldn’t have been more colourful. I tested several early stage versions of apps, I brainstormed on new ideas, I have shared career advice and I spoken to many product managers who are in a similar state as I am and we exchanged experiences and learned from each other. Nevertheless, I do see some patterns of topics, which occur regularly and I want to take one of those today and write down my thoughts for more people to read. The topic that I chose for this blog post is around how to transition to product management from other disciplines. Spoiler alert: it is possible, always. But it requires endurance, passion and commitment. Tl;dr  For me, far and foremost it is the passion to solve customer problems, which means to be 100% customer centric and have the ability to put yourself in your customers shoes at any given point in time. The more empathy a product manager has towards the

12 surprising facts about what happened since The Mentoring Club started

How Disruptive Innovation is changing the face of new business strategies?

In the current uncertain times, many companies are facing the test of redefining their strategy in a very very short time frame, not even weeks but days. This is the only solution to not only the economic pressure but also the way the consumer has started to think. Getting a better understanding of disruption will help you define your new strategy of becoming a disrupter or avoiding being disrupted, or to better scan different opportunities and path your way to what’s next. How to put together technology, customer value and experience, new business and supply chain models and an out of the box approach as a whole. We have set up a complete DISRUPTION series that brings a step by step perspective for you to deal with challenging times and define your new strategy. This includes tools and examples to distinguish between developments that will last and drive changes, versus developments that are fade away with the changing world. The term “Disruptive innovation “coined by  Clayton Christe

Taming Advice Monsters While Mentoring

Photo by Yaopey Yong on Unsplash Let me introduce you to the advice monster that I got to know in Michael Bungay Stanier’s TED talk “ How to tame your advice monster ”. Imagine someone asking you for advice. Before they even finish explaining the problem, your advice monster awakens already waiting for its turn to burst out all the brilliant advice. That advice monster is convinced that you know the situation well even if you may not have the full context at all.  When we think of a mentor, we often expect someone who is capable of giving great advice. We may also become mentors because we feel we have enough experience, passion, and ability to advise people. However, mentoring is much more complex than simply providing advice. And, mentoring environments usually are extremely satiating spots for advice monsters. For a better mentoring experience we need to tame our advice monsters. Mentoring requests often start with a small description of a person’s challenges and often it ends with

How to get the best out of Career Coaching

 Once you find the right career coach, it takes some effort to make the experience effective and rewarding. Here are a few tips. Consider scheduling recurring sessions (e.g., once a month) instead of a one-time meeting. In my experience, coaching works best when you commit to it for a length of time. Lasting changes take time and require your coach to work with you over multiple sessions to go deeper into your specific areas of focus and understand the context of your unique challenges. Regular check-ins are important to tailor the process and assess progress and receive feedback. Also, effective coaching is built on trust between the two parties and this takes time. Before you begin your first interaction, send your coach a few details about your background and what you plan to discuss. This allows them to be prepared and keeps the conversation focussed and specific. Tailor the frequency, time and duration of the sessions to meet your needs. For example, if you don’t need an entire