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Examples of mentoring goals and how to set them

Written by
Julia Gumeniuk
Published on
August 1, 2023

Mentoring is one of the most popular tools that help one progress in the career or successfully onboard in a new role. According to stats, employees participating in the mentoring program are promoted five times more often than those who don't. Another study confirmed that 87% of mentees feel empowered by their mentoring relationships and feel an increase in confidence. Sounds impressive, right? 

However, these results don't appear just by finding a mentor or starting a mentoring journey. For a successful outcome, a mentee should define goals that will help track their progress and get them to the next step of their career ladder. In this article, we'll dive deep into why to set goals in mentoring and, most importantly, how to set them in order to succeed. 

Why set goals in mentoring

Mentoring represents a relationship between less and more senior professionals and aims to help less senior mentees grow and develop in their roles. The mentoring program is usually limited to a set number of one-hour meetings held during the defined period of time (for example, six sessions during six months). Taking into account the limited amount of time allocated for discussions between a mentee and a mentor, it is crucial to set mentoring program goals right at the beginning of cooperation. 

By setting mentoring goals before the mentoring program begins, a mentee creates a path that corresponds to their career challenges and needs, and, on the other hand, a mentor understands whether their experience fits the criteria when they could be helpful to a mentee. Mentoring goals and objectives become a helpful tool for a mentor in guiding a mentee to the most efficient results, while a mentee can easily check the progress by identifying the completion of these set goals. 

Without adequately set mentoring goals, the mentoring relationship might not give the results both mentor and mentee expected. That's why it's essential to set goals, both for a mentor and a mentee, to make sure:

  • There's accountability for the mentoring relationship
  • There's a guideline to steer mentoring discussions 
  • There's a motivation to succeed 
  • There's a measurement represented by goals showing the progress
  • There's a clear final destination set
  • There's a continuous improvement of both involved

Now it's clear that setting mentoring goals is a crucial step before everything else moves forward, and it's a key to success in this relationship. But how to do it right? 

How to set mentoring goals 

There are many strategies for setting mentoring goals for mentees and mentors to make the mentoring program effective. While setting goals, a mentor and a mentee can use several frameworks and strategies, including OKRs, SMART, or micro-goals. 

It's important to remember that there's no set rule on how to set mentoring goals for each mentoring program. Instead, it's important to set at least a limited number of goals (better, less than more) to guide both mentee and mentor in the relationship and motivate them to succeed. 

Setting goals as OKRs

OKRs - Objectives and Key Results - is one of the most known strategies for setting goals across many businesses and companies. The objective is usually a broad statement that needs to be achieved, and Key Results are specific goals that show how it's possible to achieve that objective. 

This strategy allows mentees and mentors to break down the big objective into smaller, clearly defined, and achievable goals, allowing them to track the progress easily and reach the final objective quicker. Although organizations often use the OKRs methodology to keep their business profitable, applying this strategy to one's personal and professional goals is also possible. 

One of the examples of mentoring goals using OKRs could be set as follows: 

Objective - Advance career from current role to Senior 

Key results - Acquire the professional certification

- Spend 10+ hours shadowing Senior

- Attend one industry event and meet 2+ professionals from the same field

Setting SMART goals

The second popular methodology for setting mentoring goals is SMART: the goal must be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Mentee and mentor can use this methodology within any other goal-setting strategy; for example, the Key Results in OKRs can be set using SMART goals. 

The SMART framework helps to set specific goals and easily identify what a mentee wants to achieve, why they want to achieve it, whose help they'll need, and where it will happen. A measurable goal helps set a clear benchmark to identify the point when the goal is achieved. However, this goal should be also Achievable to allow the chance of reaching this goal. A relevant goal is one that corresponds with the current state, personal values, and factors surrounding a mentee. Finally, a Time-bound goal defines when it should be achieved to be considered done. 

What is an example of a SMART goal for mentorship? If to take a similar example that was used before - Advance career from current role to Senior - and rewrite it as one of the SMART goals examples, the result will be: 

Specific - Advance career in my current company from Specialist to Senior Specialist 

Measurable - Spend 10+ hours shadowing Senior and acquire one professional certification

Achievable - Use two hours every week to work on career goals

Relevant - Use the career progression plan provided within my company

Time-bound - Advance career by the end of this year

If we put this all together, our defined SMART goal could look something like this:

Advance in my current company from Specialist to Senior Specialist by the end of this year using the company progression plan - I will spend 10+ hours shadowing, acquire one professional certification, and work 2 hours a week on my goals.

Setting micro-goals

Another strategy that a mentee and a mentor can use while setting mentoring goals is to break down regular goals into micro-goals. The methodology reminds OKRs; however, micro-goals mean that even Key Results can be broken down into smaller steps that are easy to achieve. With micro-goals, it's required to have it all planned out on paper or in software and keep the progress updated regularly, which can be weekly or bi-weekly. 

One of the mentoring goals examples using micro-goals strategy when advancing career from the current role to Senior can be a split of sub-goal "Spend 10+ hours shadowing Senior." In this case, micro-goals will define:

  1. A mentee found a Senior whom they want to shadow
  2. 1-hour slots were booked in the calendars for the next ten weeks
  3. Every week the progress of the shadow is marked as done until the 10th session is reached

Examples of good mentoring goals

Now we understand why and how to set mentoring goals, but what are good mentoring goals to have? In a mentoring program, a mentee and a mentor should have clearly defined goals to guide both along the career journey. Good mentee goals and objective examples might include: 

  • Acquire hard skills and learn how to do something that was never done before
  • Develop soft skills and become emotionally intelligent 
  • Build the network and get to know a number of professionals from the field (or even outside)
  • Progress from the current role to the next step in the career 
  • Become a successful and inspiring leader for others 
  • Learn how to receive feedback and give feedback to others 
  • Learn new perspectives and get professional advice from a mentor

A mentor should also set goals to ensure the mentoring program benefits both parties involved. Mentoring goals examples for a mentor include:

  • Strengthen leadership skills and become a career guide 
  • Learn how to communicate and provide feedback effectively
  • Learn to accept and respect different points of view and perspectives
  • Share knowledge and best practices in the efficient way 
  • Make new connections and improve networking skills
  • Improve the company's morale and promote mentoring to others 
  • Showcase mentor volunteering in the resume and advance the career 

How to create a mentoring plan with goals

Once relevant and achievable goals are set, it's necessary to create a mentoring plan where the progress of achieving these goals will be recorded. There are many examples of mentoring goals worksheets available online as a standalone document or software, but most use a similar mentorship goals template as below.

Goal

Sub-goals

Measurement when achieved

Deadline

Completed?

Specific, achievable, and measurable goals will help both a mentee and a mentor to work on career growth and adjust the mentoring plan when tracking the progress. It's also possible that not all goals will be completed during the duration of a mentoring program. Still, accountability comes in - mentees can always continue at the same pace and work on goals even after the program ends. The secret to success is clearly seeing the final destination and constantly moving, even if slow. 

If you are interested in the mentoring program and want to set the right goals to help you with your career progression, don't hesitate to check out the Femme Palette Mentoring program. We'll be happy to guide you in setting SMART mentoring goals. 

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