Problems with mentorship
Mentoring can be a great way to share knowledge and help someone be successful in their personal or professional life. But many potential mentors are often too busy to commit to regular meetings, or they have a hard time connecting with people seeking help.
“If you ask any successful business person, they will always (say they) have had a great mentor at some point along the road.”
Young professionals are always looking out for career or personal advice to move ahead in life, or for some expert to show them a way forward. Some experts are willing to give this kind of advice and share their knowledge of their work and experiences.
There are time constraints on both sides, especially from the side of the Mentor, who wants to share this advice with the ideal candidate. Ideally, people go to networking events or try to find mentors online, but experts/mentors are always on the go and may not be in the same place as the Mentee.
Finding a way for busy field experts to help mentees who they wish to mentor at any given point in time as there can be a precious asset hidden in mentees around which they would love to explore and know more. Mentees need to choose their mentors on the basis of their needs as opposed to learning under someone who is an expert in the field but may not be the best mentor.
The app designed to help busy mentors connect to mentees based on location which features calendar sharing, interest matching, smart mentee vetting system.
The explore features allows both mentor and a mentee find each other based on levels, skills, work, field, and location. Users can view the most matched profile based on a matching algorithm at the backend.
Users can connect to a mentor by pitching themselves to a mentor and answering questions mentors expect out from a mentee.
Mentors can limit the way mentees can search for them. They can limit the mentees based on years of experience, no of mentees per month and mentee reviews
Both mentor and mentees can review each other based on their mentorship relations. A mentor is allotted a level # by the app during onboarding based on their years of experience. Mentees can choose mentors based on the Levels and reviews. Similarly, a mentor can review a mentee and help other mentors choose them.
Schedule & Notify
Mentors and mentees can share a calendar between them and can add, edit, delete appointments when needed.
Both Mentors and Mentee’s are the primary target users.
- Professionals with over 5 years of work experience, in a particular or multiple fields
- Successful Business owners
- Retired professionals Consultants
- Mentoring professionals
- Accomplished leaders and Humanitarians of certain sections of the society.
- Senior Teachers and Professors
- Students above the age of 18
- Young professionals
- People with private practice
- Business owners with 0-10 years of experience.
- It will also be open to people with more years of experience who still want to be a Mentee.
What is the experience of people with Mentors and Mentees?
“I love sharing my knowledge with aspiring professionals in Information Technology. I have even given many lectures in colleges to students. I have been mentoring a bright student, but due to my erratic travel schedule, I am unable to provide that kind of commitment to meet my mentee physically. “
- CEO & IT consultant - Mentor
I have finally managed to get a job as a UX designer after a lot of struggle. I tried to look for a mentor, but wasn’t really successful, as no one really responded to me, and the ones who responded, disappeared after a while. I wish I had a mentor to guide me in the correct direction and help me with understanding the real world of UX design and coach me through Job interviews.
- UX Designer - Mentee
Students usually ask their professors, visiting faculty or senior students to be their mentors.
- Issues : the students are outnumbered by the professors and are not able to give time to each and everyone who was looking out for mentorship.
Many organizations have mentorship programs wherein, every new employee gets assigned a mentor, so that they learn the ropes of the job quickly.
- Issues: The mentor is not of their choice, and the Mentor and mentee may not get along.
- Issues: Not all organizations have a mentorship program and not all bosses have the time or inclination to mentor.
Social and professional networking sites
A lot of us rely on this method to find a mentor.
- Issues: This method is a hit or a miss, either someone will find a mentor or their emails and messages will be lying the spam folder or would be unread.
An online search for mentoring services
Today, the world is into coaching - Life coach, personal coach or Professional coaches
- Issues: Problem here is to find the difference between real and fake. Secondly, not everyone is able to afford the price points of these coaches.
Networking Events: Many people try this route
Many people try this route
- Issues: It's not very easy to tell some in 30 seconds that they are looking for a mentor. Business cards are usually exchanged, but there is no follow up.
- Wants to focus on his business schedule and make sure he attends them all
- Wants to advise and mentor students and professionals who seek advice.
- Wants to make sure that he does not mentor during his business hours
- Wants mentees who are willing and also flexible according to his calendar
- Unable to make commitments due to his busy schedule as it is difficult for him to share his calendar with the mentee.
- James has uncertainty as to what the mentee is expecting out from him
- Receives a lot of requests from people for advice, so his inbox is flooded with cold emails and texts
Reframing the problem
How can mentors find the right candidate as a Mentee, who will be well informed of the mentor’s schedule and will work with him accordingly?
Decided to go with a mobile platform because mentor and mentees are always on the go and who can benefit using a mobile application brainstorming
Validating the brainstormed ideas
Further on in the process, I designed a low fidelity screen to validate my design thinking.
To make the app more gamified, where levels of mentors and mentees are upgraded on the basis of their experience, career advancement – due to the mentorship provided through the app and their ratings. This motivates a mentee to become a mentor someday. This is a perfect way of paying it forward
Mentors and Mentees should be able to post networking events related to their field, this way other future Mentors and Mentees can make connections and a sense of community will be formed between the Application users in the particular area.
=I have focused more on the professional side of Mentoring. However, Life coaching has become extremely important in everyone’s life, and people may need advice or some learning in their personal lives as well. This should be the extended arm of the Headway app, that caters to private life and personality Mentors.
The design currently centers on Mentees searching for Mentors, but soon enough there would be a need for Mentors who will be searching for Mentee’s, here I would like to keep the search option on for both sides, so that in the future if a mentor wants to increase their client / Mentee base, they can do so.