Mentoring sessions

Hi everyone,

In the Steering Council we are trying to organise some resources to support mentoring. We have already a proposal from a field expert that will organise some sessions that can provide support to those interested in mentoring people. The sessions will consist of short presentations, participatory exercises, group discussion, and Q&A. There may be potential resources (such as reading lists) that will be shared with participants and later with the rest of the core dev team.

What we want to know from you is the following:

  • What topics or general aspects of mentoring you would like the trainer to discuss.
  • Who is interested to participate in these sessions (these are virtual sessions).
  • Do you prefer to attend these sessions or do you prefer to get resources to consume later at your own pace?

Please, comment in this post so we can better understand what mentors and people interested on mentoring need so we can tailor these potential sessions better.

Of course, feel free to email the steering council if you wish to comment something privately to us.

Thanks a lot!

Representing the Steering Council,
Pablo Galindo Salgado


+1 Count me in as an participant / virtual attendee.

While I don’t come with specific topics to request, pondering the idea of me as a mentor I’ll toss out:

  • Time management and mentee expectations as a mentor. – I think concerns about my own availability vs what a good mentee experience should be are one thing that has held me back from seeking to take anyone on in the past.

I’d be interested both in attending the sessions and getting materials.

I don’t know. I don’t think I’m at the stage where I know what questions to ask :‍)


+1 I’d attend.

1 Like

I’d like to attend as well.

I’d like to attend.

:raised_hand: and at least 9 more characters.

Count me in as well for the synchronous sessions! I’ve been very grateful to have had many great mentors among all of you, and in recent years I have found mentorship of my own to be perhaps one of, if not the most personally fulfilling and rewarding aspects of being involved in Python and open source. For me, there’s little that’s more emotionally moving and powerful than making a positive impact on someone else’s professional development and personal self-esteem.

As for topics, I’m not totally sure either; I find one of the most critical skills is not just the technical aspects but also building up the mentee’s self-confidence and overcoming their insecurities especially mentees who face particular challenges and barriers in that regard (for whom having a good, supportive mentor is also the most critical, and for whom I find the role most rewarding of all).

Count me in too @pablogsal. I think this is a wonderful step :smiley:

As for topics, I think that addressing head-on the topic that we discussed at the Core Dev Sprint re: hostile feedback or comments toward a mentee from the wider community.


Possible topics:

  • how to find someone to mentor
  • “mentoring is a people thing, not a technology thing” (my take, at least)
    • corollary: “mentoring is 95% about helping someone feel comfortable”
  • what it means to be an insider vs. an outsider
  • how to be a good listener (this one trick that other OSS projects don’t want you to know about)
  • “every mentoring experience is different” [1]
    • how to figure out the best way to mentor each individual
    • how to recognize the needs/goals of a mentee and adapt to them
  • how to respond when a mentee says “I’m nervous”, “I’m scared”, or “I’m anxious”
  • what to do if you start feeling nervous, scared, or anxious when mentoring
  • what core devs can do to support each other as mentors
  • what to do when you run out of steam as a mentor
  • what to do when you run out of time for mentoring
  • what to do when a mentee bails out [2]
    • incl. how to not let the disappointment derail you
  • “mentoring is easier than it sounds”
  • what is the real impact of mentoring

Another that may or may not be a good fit: why having a diverse group matters and how we can get there through mentoring.

[1] Some benefit from weekly meetings, some more or less often, and some would rather not meet directly at all but rather interact via messaging or the tracker. Some mostly just need encouragement and others especially benefit from hands-on collaboration. Some want to try new things and some don’t. Some will open up right away and some won’t ever open up (and that’s okay).
[2] For example, find out why (there are many possible reasons). Address concerns. Preserve a positive, welcoming relationship.


:100: :100: :100: This is just so, so true. And honestly, its the part I find most rewarding about mentoring, since I’ve always struggled with a lot of anxiety, insecurity and imposter syndrome, and honestly I’ve been a lot luckier than most people due to having resources, privilege and a support network.

For this on both sides of the equation I’ve found the key thing is to to be vulnerable and bring yourself down to earth with your mentee, which helps them connect with you as a mentor and a person, feel more comfortable and open up to you more in turn, which leads to a virtuous cycle.

Maintainers hate him!

But yeah, it’s totally true.