Mentoring is all about communication and having clear objectives. As a mentee, you shouldn’t expect much from mentoring if you don’t have goals. Likewise, as a mentor, you can’t expect your client to reach their goals without help setting them correctly. This is why you’ll want to use SMART goals. Mentoring effectively is a lot easier using the SMART goal framework. Here, we’ll explain what this is, how it helps you be a better mentor, and share nine examples of well-designed goals to show you how they work.
Goal Setting in Coaching and Mentoring Relationships
14 mentoring goals you can consider setting
Here are some example mentoring goals for mentors and mentees:
7 goals for mentors
Being a good mentor can help you move forward in your career and give you the satisfaction of assisting the next generation of employees in professional growth. Your development of mentor skills starts with setting goals for yourself. By understanding what you want to give and what you want to get out of a mentorship, you can better define exactly what you have to offer as a mentor and what kind of trainee would best benefit from working with you. Here are some goals you can set as a mentor:
No matter where you are in your career, leadership skills are important if you want to get promoted or take on new roles at work. When youre in the middle of your career and trying to plan your growth, becoming a mentor can develop your leadership skills in new ways. Mentoring may hone your ability to provide encouragement, criticism and motivation, all of which are soft skills common in managers. Setting the goal of developing your one-on-one leadership skills can give you new perspectives, both when dealing with teams of people and when delivering individual feedback.
A mentee with a different background or work experience from yours provides you the chance to get better at communicating. This may take the form of learning to offer feedback, share knowledge or provide criticism. Consider entering your mentoring relationship with goals to learn to more effectively communicate your perspective and communicate with others in ways they respond to best.
A mentor is there to guide and teach, but also to learn and grow. New hires and younger employees can offer established mentors valuable information. Mentoring someone younger may introduce you to new ways of approaching your field, especially when it comes to new technology, methods or tools. Sometimes, employees new to a field or industry can bring innovative ideas or viewpoints more established employees havent thought of. Try to approach your mentoring relationship with the goal of learning as much as youre teaching.
Mentors can gain soft skills in leadership, initiative and communication that managers and executives value. Taking on a mentee shows a willingness to contribute to the broader team and the business as a whole. Acting as a successful mentor can be a helpful aspect of your career to highlight when you apply for a promotion or seek a raise.
Passing on your skills to a mentee can mean your experience moves on to the next generation of employees. You may influence the way a mentee creates a project proposal or share your best tips for attending a conference. These skills help your mentee flourish, which can help you gain the opportunity to become a better teacher.
Taking on mentees allows you to make connections with people whose careers are in different places from yours, so consider making fostering those relationships a goal of your role as a mentor. Networking is always valuable, and its important to network with rising employees in your workplace. They can prove to be important members of new teams, contributors to projects and candidates when youre looking to fill positions.
Companies and senior employees whore willing to foster mentorship relationships may signal to prospective employees that growth is an important part of the businesss overall culture. Because of this. candidates you attract might have a higher focus on their workplace growth. This workplace culture of sharing skills and fostering growth can create an environment of improvement that benefits employees and the company. When you choose to become a mentor, you can strengthen these workplace values and help contribute to your companys positive work environment.
7 goals for a mentee
When you set goals as a mentee, they can help you figure out what to learn from a mentor. Because mentors may be busy professionals, try to make the most of your time by approaching the relationship with clear goals in mind. Establishing your goals shows your mentor youre eager to learn and ready to push yourself and your career. Here are some common mentee goals:
A major goal for most mentees is learning from their mentors to develop professional knowledge and skills. Your mentor has the benefit of years of industry experience and can offer insight into your career and your professional development. A mentor can also provide advice on work culture and office life, including how to manage stress or increase your efficiency. Try to come into your mentoring relationship with specific knowledge and skills youd like to learn and be open to receiving additional wisdom.
Professional mentee goals frequently center on networking, and a mentor can be an asset for increasing your professional network. Your mentor might have a lot of professional contacts, and many mentors are happy to share connections with their mentees, especially if they can lead to career growth for the mentees. A great way to go about achieving this goal is to attend events, seminars and conferences with your mentor, and consider expressing interest in networking while youre there.
Professional mentoring goals usually encompass career advancement, and one of your goals as a mentee can focus on how youd like this relationship to help develop your career. Because your mentor likely is in a higher position than you, they can help you see the possible paths your career might take. Mentors can answer questions and provide support, they can be a reference or assist with interview practice.
Mentors can be great sources of workplace advice because theyre a neutral source with knowledge about the field. If youre contemplating applying for a new position or want to start your own business, your mentor can give you advice from their considerable experience. Your mentor wants you to succeed, and they may have a perspective on your professional options you hadnt considered before.
No matter how specific your goals as a mentee are, consider always being open to learning new perspectives. Youre engaging in a mentorship relationship with someone who likely has considerable experience at your company or in your industry, so try to enter the relationship with the goal of exploring new perspectives. What you learn may reinforce the path you want your career to take, or it may provide you with new ideas and inspiration to go in a different direction.
While receiving critical feedback isnt easy, becoming comfortable listening to and applying constructive criticism can be necessary for growing your career. Your mentor may provide feedback you may not receive from management or peers, and they can offer you encouragement and criticism about aspects of your performance that others may not, such as your behavior at a conference or the details of your latest work presentation. Receiving feedback as a mentee can help you learn to accept criticism gracefully and make the most of what youve learned.
A goal of many mentees in seeking a mentor is to find an ally they can trust. Although building a career is exciting, aspects of it may be difficult, and having a mentor you can trust can help you overcome obstacles and see problems in new ways. Advice from a mentor may guide you through career decisions or help steer you toward the best way to advance.
Why set mentoring goals?
A major reason people seek mentors is for professional development and skill-building. Goals can also help people determine what they want to get from a mentorship and who they can reach contact to help them accomplish it. Setting mentoring goals helps both parties approach the relationship with efficiency. Since all mentors and mentees are different, goals help match the right professionals for a mentorship and ensure Professional Development for both people involved.
How to set mentoring goals
Each person in a mentorship likely has professional goals theyre hoping to meet and what they expect the mentorship to look like. Heres how you can set your goals, regardless of whether youre a mentor or mentee:
1. Define the mentorships objectives and goals
Mentoring relationships have specific objectives and goals, so both parties know what theyre working toward. For the mentor, this helps guide what advice to give and the best way to go about helping the mentee develop. For the mentee, this gives them tangible milestones to work toward. Objectives and goals also help ensure the mentee and mentor benefit from the relationship in measurable ways.
2. Decide what success looks like
Success in the mentorship relationship often has specific deliverables with clear milestones for measuring progress. Try to develop these deliverables and milestones at the beginning of the relationship, so you both have a way to measure progress toward the overall goals. Typically, the mentee works on these deliverables during the relationship. You also can include a time frame for the deliverables. For example, if the mentee has a goal to expand her professional network, a good deliverable could center on attending two networking events in the coming month.
3. Set clear rules and boundaries for the relationship
Setting rules during the first meeting can be a good way to minimize miscommunications or problems about the goals and progression of the relationship. Ground rules and boundaries can give you an understanding of what to expect and help provide a structure you both can rely on. They also may help keep the relationship professional. Some common ground rules to discuss include:
4. Plan activities
A mentor can assist a mentee by planning the right kind of professional activities. These may include conducting mock interviews, involving the mentee in work tasks or attending seminars together. The activities often help achieve the goals of the mentorship and introduce the mentee to new skills or resources.
5. Find your unique approach
Every mentorship is different. Some people may act strictly as career mentors, focusing on career trajectory and networking. Others may prefer to act as a personal development mentor, which can involve helping to develop soft skills and navigate the nuances of work culture. Within professional boundaries, mentorships can progress in a variety of ways. Try to have the relationship suit both parties, and having open communication to ensure goals are being met can be a good way to improve the relationship.
What are smart goals for mentoring?
- Growing their leadership skills.
- Developing a reputation as an advisor and guide for others.
- Strengthening their emotional intelligence and communication skills.
- Gaining new perspectives.
How do you set your goals for mentoring?