How to Find a UX Mentor?

David
Albert Shepherd updated on 2020-10-12 20:12:58

Mentors are crucial in any field, but skill sets such as user experience design. It is important to listen to feedback from others when you design something, and UX mentorship is even more important. If you have the opportunity, I definitely recommend that you find a mentor in your field.

  • UX mentors can help you make actionable comments on the design
  • UX mentors can help you withdraw from the bubble you are in and see things from the perspective of an external observer or end-user
  • UX design mentors can inspire you by showing them what they are doing or introducing you to the work of other designers
  • UX Mentors can help you understand aspects of the industry you haven't experienced yet
  • Most importantly, the design mentor can help you solve your frustrations or major problems in your career!

What can a mentor offer?

ux mentor

Perhaps finding the right mentor is even more difficult than finding a soul mate. Both here and there, it is not accepted to organize and plan this process. In both cases, the choice will determine the future life. On the other hand, if you know who you are looking for and why, then, for sure, you will soon have an opportunity. Since you are what you are looking for, you will constantly be on the radar. I will describe my personal experience, which, of course, is based on the "shoulders of the greats" - the experience of other people.

The UX mentor will tell you the most basic and key skills to enter this industry and give you some specific projects for you to do it. Through the exercise of several projects, you will have the basic hands-on ability, and you will enter the door. You don't need to waste a lot of time on trivial matters.

At the beginning of their careers, most designers are too idealistic in design, even to the point of paranoia. There is no clear and immediate judgment standard and feedback for design, and it is not easy for the designer to notice it quickly. Once you get in, it is easy to drill deeper and deeper. Not only is it hard to do things by yourself, but the work is also not recognized and painful. At this time, the instructor can find the problem and guide the designer to go around.

It goes without saying that going through the path with a guide will be much easier and often more interesting. Moreover, from my own mountaineering experience, I know that with average and lower training, you should only climb with an experienced instructor. The problem with all owners and directors is that there is usually no one above them who could guide them and support them with good advice. Communities and colleagues help in part. But, alas, there is a lack of consistency that an experienced mentor can give.

Further, regular communication with the Personality with a capital letter inspires new successes and significantly expands the picture of life. It is generally accepted that a person's income is equal to the arithmetic mean of the income of his environment. Even if you do not measure everything with money, it is clear that productive communication with a person who has achieved results in his business dozens of times more than us is a serious application for revising many things and approaches.


The action steps to find mentors.

There are many ways to get guidance from UX designers, including contacting outstanding designers who are familiar with your circle and asking them to have a cup of coffee and chat for an hour or two from time to time. If not, you can ask friends in your acquaintance circle to recommend and so on. It is also a good way to be professional, but only if you have to think clearly about what you want to ask.

Another shortcut that I want to mention specifically is to attend an interview. Even if I don't want to change job opportunities, I always suggest that designers go out to participate in some interviews every year, especially to participate in interviews with design teams that they think are excellent. In addition to passively answering the interviewer's questions during the interview, when the interview is about to end, you can ask the interviewer to give some opinions and suggestions based on his ability and performance.

Most interviewers may refuse to give comments or make a few sentences, and those who are willing to give pertinent comments and specific suggestions are mostly good mentors. Interviewers, especially those of excellent design teams, generally have a relatively strong accumulation of abilities and rich experience in leading people to see people. It is a precious thing to be able to get their guidance. Passing the interview can also help you accumulate some contacts. The whole interview process also tests your ability level, and it will be easier to find shortcomings and deficiencies in your ability. Very valuable for personal growth.


What makes a good mentor?

The design of the mentoring process is heavily dependent on the input from the mentor. According to the study "The Mentor - Role, Expectations, Reality" by Frank Edelkraut and Nele Graf, three essential prerequisites are decisive for starting a mentoring activity:

1. The mentor must make a conscious decision to work with and support the newbies

Experienced employees and young professionals often sympathize with each other, which creates a mentor-mentee relationship: the older person usually recognizes himself in the younger one and encourages him by passing on useful information and experience from dealing with personalities and solving complex technical tasks.

2. The mentor shows a willingness to develop himself further and to get to know new perspectives

Ideally, however, not only the mentee will benefit from the mentoring relationship. A mentor must learn to bring a lot of understanding, empathy, and compassion to the relationship to properly advise his mentee in a difficult situation, intervene at the right time, and find clever, encouraging words to build the mentee's self-confidence. If he succeeds, a dynamic relationship can develop in which both parties ultimately grow. Furthermore, he should be ready to adapt to his mentee and his wishes and needs.


3 examples of successful people with mentors

Someone before us has made almost all the mistakes we make. A mentor who has already made all the mistakes so that we don't have to make them. Mentors not only make life easier, but they can also make it worth living.

  • Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, and Larry Page, co-founder of Google, mentored Steve Jobs. Jobs himself had several mentors, including Key Bushnell and Robert Friedland.
  • Richard Branson thanked his mentor, Sir Freddie Laker, for the success of Virgin Airlines.
  • Bill Gates receives advice and mentoring from Warren Buffet.

How to be a good mentee?

Mentees have to become aware of their own strengths

One of the biggest misunderstandings regarding mentoring is that the mentors are there to help the mentees. One could almost say: the opposite is the case. The relationship between mentor and mentee should not show a power imbalance, create any dependencies, or be understood as one-sided.

In an initial conversation, the why must be clarified

Incorrect expectations are the main cause of the failure of mentoring programs. That is why the question of why is so important and must be asked at the beginning. In an initial conversation, the mentor and mentee must clarify in which direction the mentoring should go.

This first meeting offers the opportunity to review the respective expectations and to prevent false assumptions. Again and again, I hear that people associate mentoring programs with the hope of being promoted by participating in them or that mentors will find them a new job.

Work on your visibility

All of this shows that mentors and mentees have to go together. They have to trust each other, they have to have something to say to each other, and they have to learn something from each other.

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