Fishing Instructor 101

Being An Effective Mentor

Craig Burton

Software Engineer


Life is hard

The Wall... tall,


...and it hurts your head.

Someone has to learn

A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.

- Mark Twain

Lt. Thomas Selfridge, 1908

Marie Curie

You've been waiting...

[...] if you give a man a fish he is hungry again in an hour. If you teach him to catch a fish you do him a good turn.

- Anne Isabella Thackeray Ritchie, 1885


You have value to offer.

[snowflake metaphor here]


What is a mentor?

Google defines a mentor as follows:
  1. an experienced and trusted advisor

  2. An experienced person in a company, college, or school who trains and counsels new employees or students.

...but who is experienced?

Teaching is a skill

Gladwell's Rule


But, Craig! What if I'm bad at it?

Anyone can do it. The end.

... what makes a good mentor anyway?


Wants to teach - It's really obvious.

..."back in my day"...

Everyone makes mistakes.


Investedness (?)

Invest for (mutual) success - "garbage in, garbage out"

Empathy - "I've been there."

Communication is key



Why should I get better?

What does it take?

How do I win?


Recognize strengths

Growth by challenge

Meet them where they are" (tailored communication)

Celebrate accomplishment


Sharing caring is caring...

Culture is learned.

Enthusiasm is infectious.

...but so is negativity.


Who would you listen to?

Be respected. ... but how do I get there?

Show respect.

"Respect is earned, not given." (but pretend that's only true of you)


Lead by example

Where do you want to be in your career?

How do you plan to get there?

Appreciation vs depreciation


Value (again)

Don't be a "team of one"

Recognize good ideas and approaches

Empowerment (again)


Be a good example.

"Be part of the solution, not the problem"

Show initiative

Celebrate initiative


In sales, it's "Always be closing"

Learning is a skill, too - Gladwell's Rule again

Times, they are a-changin'

Moore's Law ...of technology frameworks

Encourage culture of learning


Concussions are bad.

Everyone has valuable experience.

Helpful acronym: WIPCERGOMA!

Okay, still needs work.

Be the best you, so you can help others be the best them.


Craig Burton

Software Engineer