Op-Ed: You don’t need a CTA mentor (anymore)

Disclaimer:

This blog post is my personal opinion and written based on my experience. I was a student and I am a CTA coach at FlowRepublic. Therefore, my view toward the topic might be influenced.

I’m not part of the official Salesforce Architect program or in other way connected to Salesforce. Please take that only as my opinion and verify with other people’s experience.

Summary:

For a long time, you could only become a CTA if you had access to a CTA mentor. Thanks to the democratization of the #journeyToCTA that changed. Today, the guidance, knowledge, and structure can be provided by the Architect Ohana, study groups, Trailhead Academy, and coaching classes like FLowRepublic.

Introduction:

Many years ago, when I started my #journeyToCTA, I lacked one of the crucial things to become a CTA, a mentor. That is to say someone who is already a CTA – had passed the exam, access a lot of knowledge and experience and therefore can guide you through your #jorneyToCTA.
At least that’s what I thought. Judging from my own experience and the messages I receive, the community wisdom is, you need a mentor to become CTA. Besides time, that seems to be the missing piece holding back so many people going for the CTA. But from the people I passed the board together with, none of us had a (private) mentor. That got me thinking today a CTA mentor still required in becoming a CTA?

Theory:

I think, in the past, a CTA mentor was necessary since it was the only way to get access to CTA study materials. There were no study-groups and only a few people had access to professional CTA coaching.

The only way to become CTA was to know a CTA. This naturally limited the people who could successfully approach their #journeyToCTA. The selected few came mostly from bigger firms with internal programs or Salesforce directly. Some lucky ones got access to a CTA mentor some other way.

That started to change, I’d say, around the time Ladies Be Architects and FlowRepublic came around.  Ever since more and more content, knowledge, study groups, coaching has became available.

Therefore, in my opinion, becoming a CTA became something attainable without a dedicated CTA mentor.

Role of a mentor

A CTA mentor has different roles. In the best case, the mentor is a  “One-Stop-Shop” for the candidate on their way to the CTA. The mentor taught the structure of the exam, guided with knowledge, shared strategies, gave feedback, provided access to her architect network, gave feedback, and motivated the candidate.

Situation today

All these valuable services a mentor could provide, today are still necessary but can be accessed via different means.  In my story, to CTA the dedicated mentor was replaced by four elements. I had a study group, the Salesforce Architect Ohana, Trailhead Academy team around Suzanne, and a CTA coaching with FlowRepublic.

Study Group

My study group provided me with plenty of feedback, knowledge, and motivation in dark times. Getting a network of CTA aspirants was never easier than today, between FlowRepublic, Benelux CTA Study Group, Ladies Be Architects, SAIMA Group, and countless other groups you should be able to find your fitting mates quite easily. The Trailblazer Architect Community forum is always a good place to start.

Architect Ohana

Thanks to the hard work of many dedicated people there’s now a seemingly endless sea of CTA knowledge available. No day goes by, that not somebody posts their learnings, notes, or summaries. How to use Postman, Adrian got you covered. CPQ, ApexHours is your friend and everything regarding Identity Flows of course Lawrence’s blog. As soon as Praneel goes on show, it’s a must to watch! What was secret knowledge hidden in some selected few heads became accessible to everyone?

Notable mentions: Gemma Blezard, Charly Prinsloo, Carl Brundage, Steve Baines, Jitendra Zaa, Martin Humpolec, Susannah St-Germain and so many more!

Trailhead Academy by Salesforce

The Salesforce Trailhead Academy does an amazing job guiding you on your #journeyToCTA. Suzanne’s team provides valuable knowledge on all steps of the process. Make sure you check out the architect’s office hours, it is gold. The Trailhead Academy Page and Chatter group is probably one of the most viewed pages in my browser.  There are Trailhead Academy preparation workshops on offer such as CTA-601, CTA-602, ARC-901, and ARC-902​. These workshops give you a real glimpse into the architect’s thinking.

CTA Coaching  – FlowRepublic

Disclaimer: I am a CTA coach with FlowRepublic

I am an alumnus of FlowRepublic coaching class (and for a matter of fact his Communication Bootcamp). My dedicated FlowRepublic CTA coach Doina molded me into who I am today. FlowRepublic’s program is a “one-stop-shop” to become a CTA. You get access to a network of highly motivated and skilled Salesforce architects. FlowRepublics one in a kind structure provides you exactly the right feedback by CTA coaches at the right time. All that’s missing is your hard work and dedication.

Mentor vs. Coach

There’s a significant overlap between a coach and a mentor. In my opinion a mentor is somebody who supports you for free in an unstructured way. A mentorship is most often a personal connection. A coach on the other hand is a professional, more like a teacher, who has a program she follows.

Summary

Having a CTA mentor is something. You should still take any help you can get. If you get access to a CTA mentor, take it! But not having a mentor is nothing to be fearful of. The #journeyToCTA has become democratized and therefore accessible to everyone, who is willing to invest time, money, and hard work.