Goal setting is the heart of mentorship. When you and your mentee have clear goals, this provides you with a way to create tasks and measure progress.
Take your mentee’s general goals and turn them into two to three SMART goals. Then identify smaller actions that your mentee can take to work toward those SMART goals. Each week, review progress and plan further steps you and your mentee can take towards their desired outcome.
Keep in mind that your mentee might not express the same goals as you might expect or want them to. Remember to keep the focus on them. While goal setting is collaborative, you are there to guide your mentee and not make decisions for them. Provide advice and feedback, but let your mentee take the lead on choosing which goals they want to pursue.
It can be useful to keep evaluating goals throughout the program. For example, you may assume that a mentee has a clear goal about what kind of job they are seeking. Through your conversations use questions to encourage your mentee to consider options about what kind of job they would like to have. This conversation will help you better support the mentee whether they first need help narrowing their job search or confirm that their goals are clearly defined.
Goals can change and evolve over the course of the mentorship relationship. Look for “Sleeper Goals” or goals that come up during your discussions that your mentee did not think of at first. These goals can replace or add to your initial goals. Being responsive to the changing needs of your mentee is part of how you build a successful relationship.