Technovation Girls runs on mentor power! As we kick off a new season, we’re celebrating and supporting new and returning mentors with some quick, easy mentoring tips. The 2020 Season officially launched earlier this month, and thousands of new and returning mentors are getting trained and connecting with teams around the world. To help them – and you! – here are 7 tips to help you connect, share, and learn together as mentor and mentees. We created these tips for our Technovation Girls program, but think they’re applicable to any mentoring program or project.
1) Think beyond Tech Interests to make connections
Connect with your mentees’ non-tech interests to attract students who might be intimidated by or uninterested in tech. Check out this video for an overview of interesting problems your mentees might be interested in – and then emphasize that they can solve those problems using tech, and that they are capable of learning about and building with tech
2)Spread the word to tech newbies
Encourage students who have some tech experience to recruit their less tech-savvy friends. (They can even use this Instagram post to help.) Why? Girls with tech experience are more likely to join tech education programs – so encourage them to spread their passion and encourage their less tech-savvy friends to join. Tech can be for anyone who’s interested, and what better place to start learning than in the company of friends? Plus, girls are often more successful in completing projects and challenges when they are able to recruit friends or classmates for teammates.
3) Take the time to build relationships
Our findings from 10 years of running a girls in tech program reflect human behavior research: Girls want to enjoy what they’re doing and feel connected to their peers. So, make time for teambuilding and building your relationship with your mentees during meetings. Check out our favorite teambuilding activities for ideas to get you started, and don’t forget, that you’re building a relationship as much as you are helping girls work on their projects.
4) Spell out your preferred communication methods early on
Regular communication is important for success, but we’ve found that many students do not check email. Mentors should work with mentees to figure out the best communication system the first time they meet. Set the expectations at the outset and save yourself some trouble and frustration down the line.
5) Prepare to manage conflict
Conflict is inevitable when working collaboratively with a team, but there are strategies to manage that conflict. Balancing the load equally and dealing with conflict early and skillfully are both key. Encourage mentees to use clear communication – and model what that means. Explore these tips for managing conflict to prepare.
6) It’s not all a competition
In very competitive academic environments, mentors should emphasize to parents and student the non-competitive benefits of participating in a program like Technovation, like gaining skills in leadership, tech, problem-solving, collaboration with a global cohort, and entrepreneurship.
7) Go on a field trip
Many students are motivated by the real possibility of travel. You can organize field trips to local tech companies or even fundraise for a regional prize of a trip to a local tech hub. You can also invite your mentee into your own professional spaces – give them exposure to professional environments, introduce them to your own peer mentoring network, and show them what it looks like to do your work.
It’s not too late to become a mentor for Technovation Girls! Registration is still open for the 2020 season. Learn how you can support, inspire, and encourage girls around the world as they build technology tools to solve community problems.