CYF Docs
Buddy Guide
This section is intended as a breifing for both new and experienced CYF mentors alike.

First meeting

The first meeting is all about getting your relationship off to a good start by establishing some ground rules and acknowledging that the relationship is two-way. This is also the best time to agree about what you hope to achieve, and share your expectations with one another.
  • Ideally your mentee should have gotten in contact with you to set the date/time/video call platform for your mentoring session.
  • You might feel a bit nervous about your first meeting but don’t worry about it – a lot of people do. You might be thinking, ‘How will we start?’ or ‘What are we going to talk about?’
  • It’s a good idea to devote some thought to your first meeting because it’s extremely important. If you get off to a good start, everything else should be much easier.

Getting started

  • Make yourselves comfortable: have a drink for yourself and suggest they have one too, sit in a comfortable space, get to know each other
  • Tell your mentee something about yourself: this could include information about your personal life as well as your professional life – whatever feels right for you
  • Explain why you got involved with CodeYourFuture’s Career Mentoring Program: for example, talk about how you might do together and what you both might get out of it.
Remember: If you don’t hit it off straight away, don’t panic. It takes time to build any relationship and it will get easier the more you meet because you’ll build up trust and get used to each other.
Aside from the above, we recommend you cover the mentee’s ambitions and goals in relation to:
  • Particular issues they face
  • Their achievements so far and how to build on them
  • Realistic expectations for type of role, company, salary
  • Scale of priorities (learning tech skills, professional skills, finding a job)
  • Areas in which they would find input most useful

Topics To Cover

  • When you would like to meet – how often and for how long
  • Vehicle for follow-up meetings (Zoom, Hangouts, Slack, phone call)
  • How you will keep in touch (by email and or Slack) and how you will remind each other of future meetings.
  • Discussing and agreeing how you will work together
  • Confidentiality vs privacy (the content of your meetings is private; your mentee will have control over how any of their information is shared)
  • Responsibilities of mentor and mentee
  • How you will record progress and issues/targets for further development (both mentor and mentee please use the Career Mentoring Feedback Form)

Building Trust and Rapport

Taking time to build trust and rapport with your mentee will help you to get the most from the mentoring relationship. Rapport comes from shared values or experiences, and sometimes from a ‘chemistry’ that is hard to define.


  • Get to know your mentee
    Talk about their studies at CYF and their life outside it. Try to understand what they think and why. Value their viewpoint.
  • Do what you say you are going to do
    Agree what you are aiming to achieve through your mentoring sessions. Be reliable and always do what you say you are going to do.
  • Communicate openly and honestly
    Discuss issues as soon as they arise. Ask for and give feedback.
  • Don’t be afraid to challenge
    Your open, honest relationship will allow you to challenge your mentee constructively to explore a wider viewpoint.


One sign that there is comfort or rapport between two people is that they have similar tone of voice, body language, movements and so on. Next time you are in company, watch other people talking together. Look for examples of similarities or ‘synchronicity’ between them. Ask yourself:
  • Are their body postures similar?
  • Do they use similar hand movements?
  • What do their faces tell you, especially their expressions?
  • Do their moods seem similar?
  • How similar are their voices?


Most barriers to effective mentoring stem from personality issues and lack of awareness of the roles of the mentor and mentee.
Common barriers include:
  • Poor mentor/mentee matching
  • Mentor or mentee dissatisfaction about the way the mentoring is conducted
  • Unrealistic expectations about what mentoring can achieve
  • The lack/blurring of boundaries in the mentor/mentee relationship
  • We can help you to overcome any barriers you may encounter.
Challenges facing your mentee may include:
  • Being more time efficient
  • Having confidence
  • Having low self esteem
  • Having little or no work experience in UK
  • Having little knowledge of tech work culture
  • Low level of English reading, writing and speaking


It’s really important that you respect each other’s confidentiality. Remember that anything you talk about when you meet up is between the two of you so you shouldn’t talk about it to someone else. But, legally, you should report any criminal conduct or possible harassment or bullying. Speak to your mentoring lead if you’re worried about anything like this.
Four things to think about are:
  • Concerns
    If you’ve got any, chat to the the PD team or other Mentors in the #cyf-career-mentors Slack channel.
  • Secrets
    Don’t promise to keep any secrets. Make that clear from the beginning and remember to ask your mentee if they mind you sharing confidential information with anyone else.
  • Information
    Keep information about your mentee (like their phone number) somewhere secure.
  • You
    Confidentiality works both ways. Be aware of those personal areas of your life you’re happy to share with your mentee and those you are not.

Tools And Techniques

Goal Setting And Action Planning

A great way to start is by setting goals and making an action plan. This will keep you on track and help you to:
  • Find out where your mentee needs support
  • Agree goals that they can work towards
  • Gauge how you are doing
  • Keep an eye on your goals
  • Pat each other on the back for your successes
Don’t forget, goals are most useful when they are SMART:
  • Specific – Rather than ‘get a website’, say ‘choose a suitable domain name for my business’.
  • Measureable – Decide how you’ll know when you’ve achieved it.
  • Achievable – Can you do it?
  • Realistic – Do you think you have a real prospect of reaching your goal?
  • Timed – Is this a long-term or short-term goal? Agree timescales for each goal – you won’t be able to get everything done at once.


To structure a coaching or mentoring session using the GROWS Model, take the following steps:

G: Establish the Goal

First, you and your team member need to look at the behavior that you want to change, and then structure this change as a goal that she wants to achieve.
Make sure that this is a SMART goal: one that is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound.
When doing this, it's useful to ask questions like:
  • How will you know that your team member has achieved this goal? How will you know that the problem or issue is solved?
  • Does this goal fit with her overall career objectives? And does it fit with the team's objectives?

R: Examine the Current Reality

Next, ask your mentee to describe their current reality.
This is an important step. Too often, people try to solve a problem or reach a goal without fully considering their starting point, and often they're missing some information that they need in order to reach their goal effectively.
As your mentee tells you about their current reality, the solution may start to emerge. Useful coaching questions in this step include the following:
  • What is happening now (what, who, when, and how often)? What is the effect or result of this?
  • Have you already taken any steps towards your goal?
  • Does this goal conflict with any other goals or objectives?

O: Explore the Options

Once you and your mentee have explored the current reality, it's time to determine what is possible – meaning all of the possible options for reaching their objective.
Help your mentee brainstorm as many good options as possible. Then, discuss these and help them decide on the best ones.
By all means, offer your own suggestions in this step. But let your mentee offer suggestions first, and let them do most of the talking. It's important to guide in the right direction, without actually making decisions for them.Your mentee needs to own their choices.
Typical questions that you can use to explore options are as follows:
  • What else could you do?
  • What if this or that constraint were removed? Would that change things?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of each option?
  • What factors or considerations will you use to weigh the options?
  • What do you need to stop doing in order to achieve this goal?
  • What obstacles stand in your way?

W: Establish the Will

By examining the current reality and exploring the options, your mentee will now have a good idea of how he can achieve his goal.
That's great – but in itself, this may not be enough. The next step is to get your mentee to commit to specific actions in order to move forward towards their goal. In doing this, you will help them establish their will and boost motivation.
Useful questions to ask here include:
  • So, what will you do now, and when? What else will you do?
  • What could stop you moving forward? How will you overcome this?
  • How can you keep yourself motivated?
  • When do you need to review progress? Daily, weekly, monthly?

S: Establish the Support

Finally, have your mentee identify who can help them with achieving their goal. It could be you or someone else within CYF. Have them think about who has helped them in the past as well as who they can connect with now to get help in the future.

Ending the Mentoring Relationship

There will come a time when the mentoring relationship will begin to draw to an end. We hope that you will be able to successfully work together until the end of the course. At this point you must both ‘let go’ so that your mentee can maintain their independence. It will then become their responsibility to put what they have learned into practice. Although the two of you will probably continue to have some form of interaction, it should be on a more casual basis, where you consider each other as equals.
Here are some tips to help you end your mentoring relationship successfully:
  • Fix a date for your final meeting. Decide on a date with your mentee. Remind each other of this in your penultimate meeting so that you can prepare for it.
  • Find other ways to support your mentee. For instance, look at ways you can continue to support your mentee’s learning.
  • Celebrate your success. Have a look at the goals you set when you first met. Consider what you have both achieved during the process and reflect on what you can take to your next mentoring relationship.
  • Say goodbye. End the session on a positive note so it’s not awkward. You could talk about what you most enjoyed, what you’ll remember most or the most important things you’ve both learned.
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On this page
First meeting
Getting started
Topics To Cover
Building Trust and Rapport
Tools And Techniques
Goal Setting And Action Planning
Ending the Mentoring Relationship