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  • Writer's pictureKatarzyna Hasnik

How to be a good Mentor and find a unique and honest way to work with a mentee?

As many Mentors as Many Mentees. There should be a good connection to cooperate well based on the values of honesty and care. Lots of personality traits and lots of constructive feedback needs to be given in a good manner to aim for mentee's growth and learning.

I had amazing, warm, friendly and also highly professional, constructive, honest mentors, who help me grow, expand and engage.

Below there are my Mentors and Career Specialist from Career Foundry, who I will be thankful to the last day of my life. Extraordinary people with an outstanding understanding of the field, with high values, moral-ethical design and great, open-minded, friendly and honest individuals. I will be always grateful for having them in my life and on my career path.

  • Mo Touman, Lead Designer and Digital Innovator | My Voice UI Design Mentor

  • Jan Červinka, Technical Team Lead and Product Manager | My UI Tutor

  • Cristina Correia, Career Acceleration Coach, Leadership Coach, Psychologist, Career Strategist | My Career Specialist

  • Marion Sénéchal, Work Psychologist, Career Coach, HR Specialist,

  • Ahmad (M) ALhuwwari, UX/UI Manager, UX Trainer, Mentor, Evangelist, Consultant, Founder at UX Waves & UXER | My UI Mentor

Thank you! I still have Mentors even if I am mentor myself. as I do believe in constant work and progress, not only in UX/UI Design itself but as well as employees, consultant and founder.

To find the great mentor go to Adp List. Click the Link and find who you are looking for, who is the most suitable for you.

Now, let's be honest and let's share with Mentors and Mentees what are the grey area of work as Mentor. Be ready as it is going be deep and straight to the point. Aim is to the growth of mentees and better overall cooperation between Mentor and Mentee.

"What is your grey area of work as Mentor?"

The below question came from Umavansi Kumari and here is the answer.

Grey areas depend on the mentees and usually, their standards work, final portfolio showcase, and mostly their personality traits.

As a mentor, the first approach is to always positively highlight what is done well, even if it is done just a little. This must be applied to everyone to make mentee feel safe, comfortable and positive. After the constructive feedback is given, always with a positive outcome. The negative criticism must never be applied. How constructive feedback is received it depends on the personality type of mentee. Much stronger personalities, confident even without too much background in design, will be taken constructive feedback as beneficial to them. Less confident graduates must be treated a bit softer. It is up to Mentor to recognise the personality before giving constructive feedback and apply the appropriate strategy where the ultimate goal is the same, meaning make the project better, in both UX and UI, inspire, help, encourage, uplift, make progress, teach, engage, grow. Unfortunately, sometimes it happens that some mentees, professionalists even with the background in design, are unable to receive the constructive feedback, they would always protect every part of the project, they do not listen, they think they know everything, they are the best of the best. Quite often that type of people are stuck, cannot find the job or grow in the present company because basically, they are too proud of what they do. This is a hard cookie. First easy talks and slowly given opinion. More done in form of the questions asked mentee than given feedback. This works better because if they are asked they start to see what suppose to be corrected, done better or differently.

Down there, they know and feel their own lack, they are avoiding to confront themselves, usually, it is based on the previous unpleasant experiences of being harshly criticised and rejected in the early stage of creativity, even as children by the first teacher, who made a laugh of them in front of the classmates. Unfortunately and sadly this happens. They soon or later open up. Warm graduated is given to them for being honest. A mentor is indeed partly a coach and sometimes even counsellor. I would approach them differently with more compassion however still get to the point but more slowly, warmly.

People to be successful have to learn to listen and learn and not taking everything personally. It is about the project, to make the best of it by highlighting points to be corrected, to be polished and done better. It is about mentee to grow, expand, be encouraged, and with their own choice and speed dive deeper into the area where they need to improve.

On the other hand, some people cannot handle any corrections, fix-ups. They confirmed that they have done it but nothing is done. They actually pretend, even in the written form, by email. While compering iteration 1 with 2, there are no changes made but still, they do confirm they did the job. They do not see their project as not that good in comparison with others, they price themselves highly. I give a few turns, if that still happens, I will gradually disclose the mentorship. There is a big difference between those who had been treated not well and in the beginning, need to get extra attention and help, and those who no matter how much time, energy and support explanation, written notes are given, pointed to fix correction, they still feel proud, because they are prudish. I support all but I also value my expertise in Design and if I do not see the desired progress, it is just wasting of my own time and my own talent.

If I see this type of approach, I generally ask for honest talk and give last chance or just simply close the co-operation. if honesty is not met. This, fortunately, happens very rarely. As a mentor and designer, I have how ethical values, which I do apply to my clients and projects and I only work for those who have equal or similar values, especially when comes to help other people to land the best job. My strategy is that my professional network has the best designers, not just designers with lack of cooperation and collaboration. Open Minded must be applied, for both mentor and mentee. Mentor also needs to not apply their own ideas, or change too much on the project. There should be a balance in given and received feedback.

Mentee also needs to know why he/she choose certain UX or UI approach to sell the project to his/her own team, client, investors.

Some Designers do not also understand the difference between Artistic free type of creative projects as for example poster, illustration card, and the UI, where UX must be applied. Creativeness in Design is different from Creativeness in Art. Structure and Strategy of the project that actual understanding, effortless gathering information is crucial.

Creativity is a very gentle area. Any feedback has to be done with the highest manners, politeness, and appreciation. However, to grow, constructive feedback must be given not avoid. The attitude of "You do it, you correct for me/instead of me" will never be accepted in the respectful design studio and company. Newcomers and even previously graduates must learn this for their own good.

Basics as Typography, Layout, Precision, Colours, Grid, Consistency, Pixel Perfect, Analytical Strategy, User Flow, User Journey, overall Structure must be done well, because have to meet the requirements of Product Owners, and Users and reach the market and the selling. the point, the profit and benefit for the industry in the long term. I believe that even in my own projects there is always a room for improvements and I am always open to getting constructive feedback including from newcomers because I do believe the graduates also have a fresh. eye to stop things, which older designer might loose over time. With this mindset, I work as a Mentor. The biggest companies constantly invest in improving their own UX/UI Design because they do see there is always something. to be done better. Things change and the mindset of designers must adapt to constant changes. No excuses. The Style itself including the basics of visual design is in the negotiations area, it might be accepted if based on the right understanding and ability to explain chosen approach based on UX Research, Persona, Competitors Analysis, User Surveys.

Plagiarism is also easily spotted and I would highly it immediately. Inspiration from other creative designers is very different from just copy someone's work. If the UI graphical elements as icons if download from any free of charge platform must include owner name and link. If UX Strategy, Research is taken from someone else work is no go zone and it won't be accepted.

Apart from that, I am happy with all the above challenges as I do believe with the right approach, mindset everyone can be an outstanding designer, only if he/she is open to be one, that's why regardless of grey areas, I am always happy and. grateful to be able to mentor those who needs, wants and likes to learn, grow, expand, engage and educate themselves.

In work as UX/UI Design Mentor, the best thing which I will always be happy to do so, it is to help others to be better in this what they are already good at or help them to understand and see how they can be good as well. Much appreciated for all as Umavansi Kumari who is reaching to me to help to answer their questions and to create a better project or land to dream career in UX/UI Design.

Thank you for finding me through our network and be able to take my honest answer, which help you to become better designers and maybe even a person!

We always will be growing and expanding and learning from each other. Leet's aim for the best of who we are as designers and people.

If I can help one person, my life is complete. :)


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