Mentorship is a powerful tool for employees and employers. It can bolster engagement in the workplace, provide a sense of meaning and build long-lasting relationships. From an organizational standpoint, it can also be a tool for skill development, prepare employees to take on leadership roles and improve employee retention.
But a successful mentoring relationship doesn’t happen without intention. Organizations, mentors, and mentees need to be aligned in their purpose to reap the benefits.
Mentoring goals of mentors and mentees
To put it simply, mentors and mentees need to set goals together. Of course, what the mentee and mentor hope to get out of the relationship may be different, particularly if they’re at different stages of their careers. Setting goals together, however, allows them to set expectations and define the terms of the relationship.
What are smart goals for mentoring programs?
How can a mentor and mentee go about setting goals in a way that benefits them both? The SMART framework is an excellent place to start. The goals should have the following characteristics:
- Specific—the goals outline what the mentor/mentee wants to accomplish, so they can go about identifying the steps to get there
- Measurable—success should be clear and defined. Having some quantifiable metric also makes it easier to see if the parties are on the right track
- Attainable—the goal should be challenging but not impossible
- Relevant—goals need to be attached to a bigger picture to give both parties a reason to commit to the relationship
Time-bound—time is a great parameter that keeps both parties on track, and allows them to make some tweaks if things aren’t working.
Goals of a Mentor
Goal-setting for mentors may seem less obvious, given that conversations around the benefits of mentorship often revolve around the mentee. But mentors can gain a lot from a successful mentoring partnership. It can:
- develop (or refine) their leadership skills
- improve their communication skills
- open them up to new ideas and practices
Setting SMART goals around these objectives can go a long way in creating a successful mentoring relationship.
Mentor Goal Examples
One specific goal that a mentor may have, for example, is to be a more effective one-on-one communicator. Another might be to become a better inter-organization connector, seeking out acquaintances and ideal networks for their mentee. Still some mentors want to work on giving and receiving feedback. This can be a tough skill to master, but with practice and care this can be very beneficial for mentors inside and outside of their mentoring relationship.
Goals of a Mentee
For mentees, the benefits typically come in the form of learning and development. Benefits of mentoring come in the following forms:
- Improved knowledge or skillset
- Better understanding of organizational structure and culture
- Advancement in the company, laterally or vertically
Setting SMART goals around those objectives can be beneficial to the mentee.
Mentee Goal Examples
For example, a mentee may want to learn a specific skill. The mentor and the mentee can then decide how they can structure their relationship to work towards that goal and for how long. A mentee might also want to focus on pursuing a stretch assignment with the mentor’s guidance or network of connections. Mentees might also be focusing on personal development – how to maintain a good work/life balance while keeping advancement in their goals.
Build a successful mentoring relationship
Once mentoring goals are established, it’s time to define the relationship. Without this, both parties run the risk of mismatched expectations, which can ruin the relationship.
In a one-on-one mentoring relationship, the mentor is typically a senior employee with more significant responsibilities. Usually, this means their time is limited, at least more so than the junior employee. It’s reasonable for the mentor to expect the mentee to:
- Respect their time
- Drive the relationship
- Follow through on their promises
Of course, the mentee can also expect the mentor to follow through on their word and commitment. What that looks like specifically will differ from person to person. Some mentees may want their mentor to keep them accountable, while others would like to meet regularly. Whatever the mentor and mentee decide, they should ensure that both parties commit to what they can and are willing to do. Mentees will also want feedback from their mentor, and stating what sort of feedback is most conducive to their personality will help the mentor be more effective with their feedback when it comes time.
Experiment With Different Mentoring Formats
In the modern realm of mentoring, there are several mentoring formats that can work well:
- Reverse mentoring—this structure takes the traditional mentoring structure upside down, where the junior employees mentors senior employees
- Mentoring circles—this is a structure where workers who share commonalities or learning objectives come together to share their experiences or learn as a group
- Peer-to-peer mentoring—this structure pairs workers with their peers. For example, pairing workers from different departments allows employees to learn more about the company
Tracking and Measuring Mentoring Goals
Lastly, tracking and measuring progress is crucial for success. For the mentors and mentees, it may be best to provide a framework that they can adapt to their specific circumstances. If using a mentoring platform, interactive connection plans are a great way for mentors and mentees to hold each other accountable as they set up the goals and mark them off once completed.
For organizations, it’s worth looking at a big-picture view of what they ultimately want to achieve and set deliverables and targets they can work towards.
Reach Your Mentoring Goals With Mentoring Software
Mentoring, if done well, can bring a lot of success to the company. But it takes time, effort and a degree of experimentation to get it right. Building a mentorship program that adds value to employees and the business is an ongoing process.
Mentoring software makes it simple and easy. Chronus can help your business with time-consuming endeavors such as matching mentors and mentees, configuring, and launching a program suited to your organizational priorities. All of this while tracking metrics that illustrate a mentoring strategy’s impact on your business.
As a business, reduce the pain of hours of effort and people. Simplify the mentoring process with a platform that tackles your toughest workplace challenges at each stage of your employee journey.