posted on Feb 17, 2020
This post is the first of a series of three on the topic of mentorship/coaching. In parts 2 and 3, we'll discuss how and where to find your mentor (or coach), and how to develop a productive relationship with them.
Developer to Manager stories are a great source of inspiration. The ability to see how other engineering leaders think and what drives their growth-mindset is a powerful source of motivation. If you dream of being in such a position one day, this article will show you how to make that happen!
Developer to Manager guests’ stories seem simple and easy to follow, but overnight successes are many years in the making. It may be unclear how and where to start. Since you’ve already made the first step in your journey, i.e. started feeding your mind with the inspiring stories of other people, you’re ready for what comes next.
The next step in your growth journey should be finding people who will guide and support you in your efforts. People who know the hardship and dangers you will encounter along the way to your success: mentors and coaches.
Often, there can be some confusion between the roles of mentors and coaches. Here’s a metaphor that we feel helps clear things up:
Mentor is the person ahead of you, they will show you the way and guide.
Coach is behind you, pushing you to reach your destination
Mentors are the leaders who already achieved what you desire: success, wealth, wisdom, and experience. They can share their knowledge and offer guidance, making your way to the top safer, faster, and easier. Using an analogy to Lord of the Rings, Gandalf the Grey could be your mentor. He knows what to do and helps to establish the major strategy, but his role ends right there. A mentor doesn’t accompany you in your growth journey; you don’t even need to meet them in person, as you can find useful insight and wisdom in books, stories, and of course Developer to Manager interviews!
Coaches on the other hand provide the way to ensure your progress. They use a variety of techniques to translate your grand vision into a series of smaller and incremental steps, keep you motivated, and continuously analyze your strengths and weaknesses. They are your best sidekick, like Samwise Gamgee (using the same Lord of the Rings analogy), making sure you’re up to the task and making progress, giving you smaller-scale tactical support. While they won’t provide any advice unless specifically asked, they are an invaluable source of motivation and accountability.
Both mentors and coaches bring enormous value to your life. You can use their help in any area of your life — some people even use multiple coaches for every aspect of life they want to improve: work, personality, mindfulness, relationships, fitness. Having another perspective in your life, especially coming from a verified and successful source is the best way to boost your own growth-mindset and form new habits that will benefit you for years to come.
About the author: This article was created in partnership with Cubitoo. Cubitoo offers individual and company coaching via personalized 1-on-1 sessions and group workshops on communication, productivity, management, and more. Their mission is creating productive and happy companies by bringing out your inner leader and making them shine brightly! Learn more and start your own growth journey at https://cubitoo.com/coaching.