One of the first things a mentor does after entering into a mentoring relationship is to help the mentee identify their career objectives and set mentorship goals. It is a critical step in defining what you will work on with your mentee in the next few months and how much effort you will need to put into it. Setting clear goals for your mentee helps you get the most out of the mentoring relationship.
Before deep-diving into how to set goals for your mentee, let’s see what mentorship goals are.
Mentorship goals are the long-term and short-term developmental goals that a mentee set for themselves during a mentoring relationship. The long-term goals are bigger goals like becoming a public speaker or a better leader. Short-term goals are small goals that need to happen along the way to achieve the bigger goals, like developing leadership skills, taking courses on public speaking, etc.
How many mentorship goals should a mentee focus on?
When setting goals for your mentee, it is important to remember that the number of goals should be realistic and not overwhelming; that means no more than two goals over a year.
Tips for Setting Mentorship Goals
If you are starting a new mentoring relationship as a mentor, follow these tips to set mentoring goals for your mentee.
1. Set SMART Goals
SMART goals were introduced by George Doran, Arthur Miller and James Cunningham in 1981, and it has been in use ever since. SMART goals are goals that are created focusing on specific and realistic targets to hit, which increases the chances of success.
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
- Specific: The goals should be clear and well-defined. A vague goal is a way to disaster.
- Measurable: A goal should always be measurable so that you and your mentee can track the progress.
- Attainable: Your mentee’s goals should not be too difficult to achieve, as it will only lead to disappointment.
- Relevant: A goal should be relevant and linked to the overall organizational goal.
- Time-bound: Goals need to be achieved within a specific time frame. Set up a realistic timeline for your mentee to accomplish his/her goals.
2. Define Strategy
Now that your mentee has SMART goals in place, it is time to define the actionable steps that will help them achieve that goal. Start by deciding your overall strategy. If your mentee’s goal is to become an effective leader, your suggestion to your mentee can be:
- Improve active listening skill
- Improve leadership communication skill
- Follow leaders on social media and observe their actions
- Improve time management skill
Once you and your mentee have agreed on the strategy, you can plan for specific short-term goals like “practice mindfulness”, “take a course on communication skills for leadership and management.” These small goals will make sure your mentee is growing continuously to achieve their bigger goals.
3. Encourage Your Mentee to Track Their Progress
Once your mentee has plans and strategies in place, make sure they track their day-to-day progress. When your mentee can see how close they are to achieving their goals, they will be extremely motivated to hit the target. Besides, when they track their progress, they can focus on things they need to put extra effort into. This will help them move in the right direction.
Working without tracking makes it difficult for you and your mentee to understand whether your strategy is working or not. Working on goals while regularly tracking progress reduces the chances of failure.
Goal setting is a critical part of a mentorship program. However, defining strategies to achieve those goals and tracking progress is equally important when you are setting mentorship goals for your mentee. It’s about finding a system that works best for your mentee.
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