Effective mentoring is not just about setting goals, but also about finding the courage and determination to make them come true.
And it’s not just junior Product Managers who need a shot of confidence. Sometimes, even experienced PMs feel that they need to regain trust in their own abilities.
A Journey to Career Confidence
Corrin, a Product League mentee, and her mentor, Shay, understood that this is what truly builds a PM’s career, and their mentoring process began with a clear goal in mind: giving Corrin her product management confidence back.
“Leading Product teams to build successful products is what I love,” says Corrin. “I’ve been a Product Manager for five years now, and the constant interaction with people and taking an idea and executing it in reality are like magic to me. And I love every bit of it.”
“But as quarantine was happening and we all got to thinking about our short and long term goals, I knew that two things had to happen: I had to improve as a PM, and I had to level up my career. And I knew that one wouldn’t happen without the other. This was when I decided to apply to the Product League’s autumn 2020 batch.”
A Mentor Chooses to Give Back
At the same time, and not very far away, Shay, her mentor, felt it was time for him to give back to the Product Management community while also challenging himself to learn new things.
“I didn’t know what the process would look like. In the end, it became a great friendship that helped me level up my career. That’s double the win,” says Corrin.
“We met once a week,” says Shay. “We started by outlining the problems, solutions, and results.”
“In the first month, we had a long discovery process, trying to look ‘under the hood’ to see what needed to be improved,” says Corrin. “We decided to focus on solving these initial problems that had to do with my day-to-day challenges:
- Addressing delivery issues in a start-up company
- Establishing a well-defined product development process
- Reevaluating the current process vs. the optimal process
- Setting goals and building a plan
“But then, there was a pivot: I came to understand that my career needed a boost,” Corrin says.
“And with me replying, ‘No problem, bring it on! New goals, new plan!’” says Shay with a victorious smile.
Revamping the Plan
“And then we started on a new process,” says Shay. “We created an updated plan for Corrin, with interview preparation geared toward the different stages of the hiring process, including interacting with industry leaders, to get a better understanding of the role and its challenges.”
“We worked to figure out the kind of role that would allow Corrin to bring her knowledge to life and the atmosphere she needed to succeed. This was not a job-hunting process, but a journey for Corrin to get to know what she wants her career to look like and how to get there. We set a goal, and with a lot of preparation, including encouraging Corrin to treat herself like a product that must be managed to success, she did it,” says Shay.
“I got a really great job and learned a lot about my abilities,” says Corrin. “So much so that my fourth months in the program were focused on setting goals for stepping into my new role!”
Hard Works Pays Off
But as with all worthwhile goals, Corrin’s achievement did not come easily or without challenges.
“I was concerned that the program would be too time-consuming,” shares Corrin. “I couldn’t imagine the outcome, so I didn’t know what to expect. In the end, I invested ten times the time I thought I would because my investment was so fruitful. I had an amazing mentor, and we were fully committed to our shared success.”
“The whole Product League program was easy-ish to follow. It’s not easy because you have to invest your time. But it is easy enough to allow you to make your career dreams come true, if only you’re willing to commit to it,” she says.
“I was afraid to fail as a mentor,” shares Shay. “But that’s why Product League was the right option for me over other opportunities out there. It allowed me to jump into the water and have the real-life experience of guiding another Product Manager in what may be the biggest leadership test of all: being a mentor.”
“I ride a motorcycle and practice Krav Maga, but somehow, this experience of impacting someone else’s life in such a direct and honest way is something that I was not sure I was ready for. But I wanted to do that and give back,” says Shay. “And the program and the people behind the League were there for us along the way and helped us feel like we were at the right place for us.”
An Instant Connection
“And I felt that I was at the right place already during my first session with you, Shay. I really did!” says Corrin.
“After all, we were devoted to each other. We had good communication, and we were (almost) always aligned and on the same page,” says Shay. “This may be my best piece of advice to all Leaguers out there.”
“I can’t wait for my next batch with this amazing program and to learn who is going to be my next Product League mentee,” says Shay, when asked about his future plans.
“I ultimately boosted my career,” shares Corrin. “And now, I am ready to be successful in my new role. But the most important thing I learned is that I could do anything I set my heart to. Get ready, world!”