I speak here {^_^}

How to ask someone for a 1:1 (learning or mentoring) session? #24

June 14, 2021

A few days back, I had a small, very useful conversation with a friend from the community. We were discussing, How to ask someone for a 1:1 (learning or mentoring) session?

This is what I do! ⬇️

(and so, I’m putting the raw conversation below, just that I feel this might help someone else too, who are like me. 🙂)

Hi Priyanka! 👋

First off, thanks for sharing your learnings! They were really helpful :)

I was planning on approaching a few people and setting up a 1:1 with them as well, but I was a little scared and basically have no idea what you would say, since you’ve done it with XYZ, any pointers?

Hello, really sorry for the late reply. I was away for a good while 😅

Regarding reaching out to people. It’s always hard (for me atleast) but I always tell myself it’s a one step thing.

You ask and they say no or yes 😅

But because I want it to be yes from their end, I do the work that gives them reason to help me.

The only thing I would say is don’t ask them vaguely (and I am not saying you would do that, just learnt from my own experience 🙂)

Like “could we catch-up on say some X topic?”

But rather describe it, tell them you want to meet on “X thing, and in X thing, you are interested about this particular Y thing and you tried doing this & this.

These are your learning so far from what you did and now you want some help to take this on one next further step, from where you feel you are blocked right now, and where you feel, this someone (from whom you are trying to ask) is really well equipped with the information.”

So, yea, usually this happens to go positively.

When I go asking to someone for a session, or a call, I try to be as precise as possible with what is something that I am trying to learn from them.

And then I myself do the work of deciding dates and time and day and everything.

So, only thing left for them is to “Say yes or no, or make modifications so, it works for them”

😆😆😆😆 was that too much of gyaan, sorry, but seriously that works for me

XYZ, on the other hand, I didn’t ask them for 1:1. I was just talking to them on one Day and about certain stuff and then they just asked me to create those meeting (and I am really grateful 😇)

So, with them, as well, I do the same thing ~

I would do the work and I would write notes and the only thing that happens (or left) in the meeting is asking the doubts.

On other hand, I have people who didn’t agree (like they won’t say direct no but won’t say yes at all)

So, in that case, it’s my decision whether I want to stick with them thinking “oh that fellow didn’t talk to me!”

Or I would see if regardless of them saying no, “are they still very very important to stick around?” That I should do more work and be more visible to them, or show them I am worth their time and session, so, in these cases, I do the work required. :)

While I am already typing, want to share this one more thing

It’s from some couple of months before, it was time when I was seriously not aware of anything at all in the kubernetes project, other than the couple of people we see in #in-dev

And like everyone (we usually see in the channel and outside), I was thinking of going on a call with some person who were very well known in the community & ask them for help!

And I was very sure what I wanted to ask? (Wait for it 😂)

I wanted to ask them how to get started with Kubernetes project, because I am very interested in contributing and learning

But I know (you would resonate with it this), it is sooooo broad question that there is absolutely no answer for it.

(And yes, that fellow said no, not directly but very directly in almost literal way 😂)

My mentor (I have one outside & I was talking to them about it), he just told me this thing ~

That the person who said no was very intelligent because they cared to save their precious time.

You (he was talking about me) were asking them to

  • first come on a call
  • And then even do your own thinking, around
    • the hard thinking of finding out some work for you,
    • and then even tell you how to do that work

So, my mentor asked me ~ Just think now, if you would like to do this thing for anyone else.

And my answer was literally a big NO.

So, yea, that’s how I realized, sometime, people are not saying no to me, but they are saying no to wasting their own time.

Because well I (& others like me) are not willing to put in the required work.

(This conversation really really helped me)

Just a story I thought I could share from my experience with you 🙂

(PS: Find the screenshots to the conversation here & here)