Mike McQuaid argues that mentorship is important, but maintaining contact with peers doubly so, and therefore you should have a mentorship diamond1:

Methorship v. Coaching v. Sponsorship

A mentorship relationship should be driven by the mentee. Coaching relationships are driven by the coach2. This is a useful distinction when the advisor is a manager of the mentee/subordinate. A manager will assess the subordinate’s uptake of the consul, therefore they are likely coaches and not mentors.

Sponsorship is very different. A sponsor uses their authority and influence to create opportunities and recognition to advance someone’s career.

Starting as a mentor

Asking around is a good place to start, you can also try local meetup groups if you have an established presence. Google Summer of Code is a structure program1.

  • Act as a friendly question-answering resource3.
  • Challenge the mentee in the appropriate way, find tasks that are the appropriate level of challenge, just beyond their skill-set3.
  • Share business and engineering context3

Starting as a mentee

Ask those you like, ask your manager for suggestions.


McQuaid, M. The Mentorship Diamond. at (2021).
Golden, D. How to mentor software engineers. at (2021).
Anderson, K. Being a Great Engineering Mentor. at (2019).

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