Mentorship: Mentee Guide

[ratified 2016-10-13]

So you wanna find a mentor? Great! Mentorship can have a huge effect on the personal and career growth of mentees. The WeAllJS mentorship program is a volunteer program that help folks like you find someone who will share their experience, context, and expertise in order to help you grow. It emphasises sponsorship, rather than simply helping technical advancement.

Mentorship isn’t a one-way relationship though: By connecting with your mentor, you’ll help them grow as well. Share your own experiences, contexts, connections, and understandings – they’re here to learn, too.

This document describes the processes that you, the mentee, will go through in this program. It includes some ground rules, some advice, and some processes you can follow. It is designed to give you a good idea of what you can expect out of the program.


  1. Minimum 1 hour/week availability.

  2. Willingness to answer occasional emails, slack messages, and other such communications in a timeboxed and timely manner.

  3. Be able to participate for at least 3 months, preferably longer. Mentor/mentee relationships can potentially last a long time.

  4. While part of the program, help support other mentees in the #mentees channel.

Your Responsibilities

  1. Follow the WeAllJS Code of Conduct in all interactions. Ask admins for help if you need it.

  2. Respect your mentor’s valuable time by keeping time limits on interactions, being reasonable about tasks for weekly targets, making sure you make it to your arranged meetings on time, etc.

  3. Notify your mentor in a timely fashion about sudden schedule changes or conflicts that might affect your meetings.

  4. Communicate respectfully, openly, amicably, and professionally.

  5. Respect the mentor’s confidentiality. Don’t share things they’ve told you unless you have been given clear, explicit permission.

  6. Take charge of your own education: Work together with your mentor to promote your own growth and success. The mentor is not intended as a teacher, but as a support for your own self-directed learning efforts.

  7. Be aware of intersectional issues and power dynamics: The nature of a mentor/mentee relationship involves an uneven balance of power. Your mentor very likely is quite concerned about respecting your boundaries. Be mindful of the positions you can put them in.

  8. Be open but empathic in both receiving and giving feedback. Communicate about the relationship regularly.

  9. Seek outside help when something isn’t working right or you have a serious problem. #mentees and /admin are both available. Remember to respect their confidentiality!

Signing Up

  1. Join the #mentorship channel in the WeAllJS Slack and add yourself to the spreadsheet, filling in whatever relevant information you want to share.

  2. Leave a message in the channel to let others know that you’ve signed up.

  3. You will be contacted some time after if the program’s mentors have found a potential match, and they’ll discuss it with you after chatting with your potential mentor.

  4. If you both agree, you’ll be invited to #mentees, introduced to your mentor, and then you should plan your First Meeting.

The First Meeting

  1. Schedule the meeting directly with your mentor.

  2. Timeboxed to 1 hour with a hard stop. Video chat or in person are preferred, but Slack chat is fine.

  3. Discuss with your mentor what the overall goals for the relationship will be. Discuss how you would measure success.

    a. Specific project?

    b. Mastering/improving a specific skill?

    c. General career advice and support?

    d. What opportunities can the mentor make available for you?

    e. Who can they connect you with?

  4. Discuss and agree on time commitment and personal boundaries.

    a. Apart from the 1hr/week, how much extra time will you dedicate, if any, and in what contexts?

    b. What are appropriate mediums and times for communication?

    c. Apart from general appropriateness and respect boundaries, is there anything, such as discussing certain technologies, outside of the bounds of what you’re willing to discuss?

  5. Agree on a general schedule for your weekly meetings: you can and should verify that the next week’s meeting can still happen, at the end of every meeting, but try to find one or two times that can be blocked off on your calendars and be reserved in advance.

  6. Discuss any potential gaps in time commitment that might happen, and how to manage them.

  7. Write down some general targets for the first 30/60/90 days. These guidelines are not hard requirements to meet, just goals to point your way. If priorities change, or targets are missed, that’s not an issue! This is there to help give you structure.

  8. Finally, discuss some task or goal that the you can and would like to work on before the first regular weekly meeting, to be discussed or reviewed at that time. It’s your responsibility as a mentee to take the lead with this. Mentors are there to support you, not assign you tasks and homework.

The Weekly Meeting

You’re free to structure these meetings how you see fit, but it’s recommended they have the following constraints/goals:

  1. Timeboxed to a minimum of 1 hour, respecting your agreed-upon time limits.

  2. Review and discuss last week’s task and help answer any questions.

    a. Was it completed/achieved?

    b. What went well?

    c. What could have gone better?

    d. Where are you as far as meeting your 30/60/90 goals?

  3. Once a month:

    a. Review the past month and any relevant 30/60/90 goals that you had set. Talk a bit about them, what went well, what could’ve gone better.

    b. What’s the next set of 30/60/90 goals?

  4. Ask questions, come up with something to work or pair on, talk about industry/career stuff, or just chat about general things and get to know your mentor. Take the lead on this and make the most of your time to mine your mentor for new knowledge!

  5. Reserve the last 10-15 minutes of the meeting to answer these:

    a. What are you doing for the next week?

    b. What will your mentor keep an eye out for, opportunities-wise?

    c. When and where is the next meeting?

    d. Anything else that either of you should think about or do before the next meeting.

Between Meetings

  • You should know what you are doing in the context of the mentorship every week.

  • Take advantage of any external opportunities brought up by your mentor. Send any emails, have any meetings, etc, that they’ve helped make happen.

  • Try to pick goals that you and your mentor believe are achievable in a week’s time.

  • Do your best to meet your goals and complete any tasks that you committed to doing over the course of the week. Consider communicating with your mentor

  • If you can, consider taking notes about the experience so you can discuss insights and challenges with them at your next meeting.

  • Contact your mentor if you need help, and you have negotiated how to do that.

  • ONLY contact your mentor through channels, at times, or in ways that you have previously agreed to, and only contact them as often as they’ve committed to in your previous negotiations. Do your best to respect their time.