The Benefits Of Having A Coach / Mentor In The Field Of Data Science

Mentoring for Data Science

Coaching and Mentoring are very important to me as they guided me throughout my career in Data and more recently, the career of a Data Scientist. They are extremely relatable, but there are still some key differences between the two.  In this article I’ll explain the difference between the two and how you can benefit from having a coach or/and a mentor. 

Mentoring for Data Science


What is mentoring?


Wiki says: “Mentorship is the influence, guidance, or direction given by a mentor. A mentor is someone who teaches or gives help and advice to a less experienced and often younger person. In an organisational setting, a mentor influences the personal and professional growth of a mentee. Most traditional mentorships involve having senior employees mentor more junior employees, but mentors do not necessarily have to be more senior than the people they mentor. What matters is that mentors have experience that others can learn from.”


How can mentoring help you?


Mentoring is like a student-teacher relationship. In Data Science, a mentor can be a Senior/Consultant Data Scientist who will answer your questions and raise questions you hadn’t considered to help you meet a certain objective / skill / master a specific tool.


I had mentors while working for Symantec and DELL as these companies had formal mentoring programs running. The “issue” was that they were not Analytics / Data Science specific, and, at that time I needed  domain specific support.  To fill this need, I went on LinkedIn (as they try to promote professionals as mentors), but people I contacted  did not reply or they were very expeditive. I looked deeper and I found these guys: MentorCruise. They are a dedicated website for mentoring services. I found them cool and I registered as a Mentor myself. You can find my profile here:


Having a mentor and being one will give you confidence and great satisfaction that you can help other professionals similar to you. At the moment I’m mentoring two data professionals. I really like the interaction and the feedback I got so far .

Click here if you want to become a mentor on MentorCruise.

While working for Symantec, I attended a 3 days course on coaching and I got to experience being both a coach and a coachee. Nowadays, there are more in-depth specialisation and coaching is a profession. I wanted you to learn about coaching from the best, so I asked a former colleague of mine who is a trained coach to guest post for


Claudia is a Positive Psychologist and Coach specialising in career and leadership coaching for people in tech. She is based in Ireland and works globally with people who want to be happier at work.


Let’s see what Claudia advises:

Coaching for Data Science

What is coaching?


Coaching can be defined in many ways. In essence, coaching is a space for personal development through a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires you to maximise your personal and professional potential (International Coaching Federation).


In the business world, workplace coaching is often used as an effective tool to optimise performance and unlocking untapped potential. Often, the goal of coaching interventions in the workplace is to build team cohesion, employee productivity and motivation, and develop authentic leadership skills.


However, coaching is much more than just a tool to increase your productivity. Coaching is a journey to more self-awareness, a space to help you learn more about yourself. Typically you will gain a greater understanding of values and your strengths and learn how they impact your behaviour, your thought processes and your emotions. 

There is great power in understanding that triangular relationship – it’s the starting point to self-determined behavioural change.


How is coaching different from mentoring?


Coaching is built on the core belief that you, the coach or the client, already have all the answers, skills and knowledge within yourself to reach your goals. The coach’s role then is to help you uncover the answers you are seeking through a non-directive and non-judgmental dialogue. 


That means coaching is less directive than mentoring. It is not about giving advice, it is about empowering you to discover what is best for you – in work and in life. While a mentor shares their own experiences and industry knowledge with the mentee, a coach is not necessarily an expert in your line of work. A coach asks you thought-provoking questions, offers new perspectives and guides you in the process to come to a new insight that empowers you to create a path forward that is right for you.


How can coaching help you?


Coaching is a very versatile approach to personal development and can help you achieve goals, make difficult decisions or face challenges with more confidence. Below are a few examples of typical coaching topics for career coaching.


How coaching can help you in your career


Qualified and accredited coaches often specialise on a topic, or career stage a client is in. Here are some examples of what career coaching can help you with:


Career coaching. This can be anything from finding career clarity, building your confidence to interview effectively, supporting you in managing up, progressing in your career or building your own brand. 


Leadership coaching. Leadership coaches work with new and established leaders and often are an independent sounding board for their clients. Typical topics in leadership coaching include finding your authentic leadership style, building confidence as a leader, communicating assertively, employee motivation, and building high performing teams.


Career and leadership coaching is ideal for people who suffer from imposter feelings, have trouble creating or maintaining a healthy work-life balance or find it difficult to be themselves at work.


Your coaching readiness checklist


Are you ready to find out if you are ready to engage a coach? Here is a handy checklist to determine your coaching readiness:


  • I am determined to make a change
  • I am ready to ask myself the hard questions
  • I believe in life-long learning
  • I would benefit from additional accountability to achieve my goals
  • I sometimes struggle with my confidence and would love to learn strategies to be more confident
  • I know working with a coach will have long-term positive effect on my work and life


If you want to read more on coaching, you can check out Claudia’s blog:


This is a personal blog. My opinion on what I share with you is that “All models are wrong, but some are useful”. Improve the accuracy of any model I present and make it useful!

Any comments are welcome

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Cristina Gurguta

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Welcome to! I’m Cristina, a Senior Machine Learning Operations Lead and a proud mom of two amazing daughters. Here, we help nurture your data science career and offer insane data-driven designs for shopping. Join us on this exciting journey of balancing work and family in a data-driven world!

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