Reps Mentors Narrative - Siddhartha Ra

I got involved with the Mozilla community as a Firefox Student Ambassador and started contributing during my undergrad under the leadership of Prof. Kailas Patil (@patilkr24). FirefoxOS was out and new at the time, I was always into web technologies, so developing web apps for it was an exciting opportunity. Prof. Patil set an achievable OKR for me to build an app for FirefoxOS within a period of time. I was motivated to do it because subsequently the plan was to host an “App Day In A Box” workshop where we taught other college students how to do it. Setting structured, small, qualitative goals one at a time helped me stay on track and focused.

I really like the 3 levels of listening section. I think it’s a differentiating skill for coaches. When I became a rep, Diwanshi Pandey (@Diwanshi_Pandey) was my mentor at the time. Retrospecting on my journey, I can think of having number of conversations with Diwanshi about my excitement for a project, ideas, interests, frustrations sometimes, and how she would always be available and willing to listen. She would diligently and patiently listen to my haywire mind then work with me by asking questions to break down my thoughts and prioritize things to do. She would then guide me with resources and people that would help me achieve my goal. Another evident listening quality about her was she used to be passively aware through blogs and social media of what I was doing in the community, how I was progressing, was I on track with my goals, etc.

GROW - Goal, Reality, Options, Wrap-up. This is something I have continuously witnessed with my coaches since I got involved in Mozilla community - Structured Guidance - it’s finally good to know it has a strategic term. I have been willingly mentoring a few people outside Mozilla, a colleague at work and college juniors, and we have been using the GROW strategy already. My current mentor Robby Sayles (@rtsayles) and I have been using it in our regular sync up sessions as well and it has proven really impactful in terms of what got done, what’s to be done and how to get there. The critical part of this strategy I think is self-awareness and open discussions.

Asking good/right questions and feedback is my favorite. I’m a practitioner of self-awareness, introspection and improving through feedback which directly apply in coaching. I have made the mistake in the past of directly giving away answers, doing something for someone instead of guiding them through it and missing on asking feedback. I soon realized that I should rather be helping the other person through QA and putting them in a self-awareness mode so it becomes a learning experience for them. It’s almost like you play a role of a therapist. Now, I make sure I ask Robby for feedback in our regular sync ups. I really like the way he delivers it and makes sure he also recognizes my contributions. I’ve come to realize that the tone of delivery highly matters, especially when it comes to Constructive feedback.

Overall, having mentored by some awesome people, I’ve learned qualities of transparency, being respectful, inspiring, motivating, encouraging, include empathy and productivity.

Thanks for reading my narrative,