September coaching sessions

Reading time: 5 mins

Throughout September I’m going to be holding some free coaching sessions aimed at supporting folks from groups that are under-represented in the tech industry. Here’s a bit more about what that looks like and how it’ll work.

📣 Update: I’ve closed the form for now as I’ve had quite a bit of interest and want to get these folks booked in first. If possible I’ll re-open afterwards for a few more. Thanks for your patience!

Over the next few weeks I’m going to have a bit of spare time before I start my new job (more on that soon!). I’m trying to spend a lot of time detaching (as much as anyone can within the current world!), but I’m also enjoying having some freedom to spend time on things that matter. As part of this, I want to offer up some of my time in the form of 1:1s and free coaching sessions for folk who’re from groups under-represented in the tech industry.

If you’ve come across this and don’t know anything about me, first off, hello! I’m Sally, I was most recently working at Monzo where I led engineering across Operations, and the web as a discipline. I managed a team of managers, led hiring for my areas, was involved in setting team structure, strategy, creating progression frameworks, and more. Before that I worked for myself doing contracting and then consultancy for a long time, but originally started out as a developer>architect>manager agency-side. I’ve worked with a huge range of people, I’m non-judgemental, and I’ve probably helped someone with your situation before 🙂

We can talk about all kinds of things

So what can I help with? Here are a few ideas, but I’d love to hear yours too:

  • Career coaching, and helping you to work out what you want to focus on
  • Talking through difficult situations you may be experiencing at work
  • Identifying your strengths and how to share and be proud of these
  • Helping you unpick how you’d approach something you haven’t done before
  • Practice or confidence for interviews
  • Practicing giving or receiving feedback
  • Talking through how you’re coping in a pandemic

What these sessions aren’t for is to give you a set answer. So if you come with “which framework should I pick for my web project?”, “how should I structure my team?” or “should I focus on back-end or front-end?” you’re going to get a lot of questions and talking through how you may want to make that decision, rather than me flat out telling you! However I am happy to share examples of my experiences, and things that have worked for me in the past that you may want to try.

What’s the catch?

“Why is this free? What do you really want to get out of this?” 🤔 I don’t want anything, honestly. I’ve got a lot of privilege, I’ve been able to enjoy a nice long break because of a comfortable voluntary redundancy package from a job I was in a position to be able to choose to leave, and I’m going to start a great job with supportive people. Not everyone’s that fortunate, so if I can help though listening and supporting a few folks to get past some challenges whilst I have some more time over the next few weeks, that’ll be good enough for me.

I guess if anything the main limitations are 1. that I can only speak to so many people, and 2. that I’m not initially intending to keep doing this once I’m back at work full-time, but I’d of course love to keep in touch informally with folks I meet and see how you get on! Hopefully this this works well and I’ll be in a position where I’ve got some more energy and headspace to do this again at some point too.

How this will work

  • Sessions will be 45 minutes long.
  • They’ll be held on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons (UK time). I’m aware this isn’t great for people in very different timezones, and may try to mix it up more if I ever do this again.
  • We’ll use Hangouts or Zoom, but you don’t have to be on video unless you’re ok with that.
  • I promise to keep anything you share confidential (with the usual caveats of reserving that right if you tell me something illegal or if I think you’re in any danger, etc).

I have no idea how in demand this may be! If you’d like to apply, I’ve set up a form (now closed!) to capture some details including what you’d like to talk about. If I think I can help with that, I’ll send you a link to book a time slot. If I don’t think I’m quite right to help (there are somr topics I just won’t know about), or if I get too booked up (it’ll be first come, first served!) I’ll also let you know. If this proves more popular than I’m expecting I’ll also close the form.

I’m not asking for you to include why you’re ‘deserving’ of help, or what kind of underrepresented groups you see yourself in. This often leads to people from certain groups not putting themselves forward when they absolutely should. If you’re a straight white cis man with tons of privilege and opportunities please leave this time for others, but I’ll ultimately leave it up to you.

If you have any questions, you’re also welcome to send me a message. Contact details are on my contact page.

Looking forward to speaking to some of you soon!

Header photo by Emma Matthews Digital Content Production on Unsplash