The most effective mentoring conversations need to focus on setting and achieving goals, exploring issues, and making informed decisions. Just asking a mentor for “any help you can give” is unlikely to lead to a productive mentoring relationship. The relationship needs to have a focus and a purpose to work towards. Goals don’t necessarily need to be big ambitions; they just need to be SMART.
Create SMART goal(s)
What needs to be achieved. Be specific, think about how you could clearly demonstrate you have achieved the goal. For example, Respond to 100% of IT support enquiries within 24 hours of receipt - specific.
Respond to IT support calls – not specific.
How will you measure if it has been achieved? For example,” Respond to 100% of IT support calls” – can be measured. “Respond to IT support calls” – is too vague.
Whilst your goal needs to stretch and challenge you, it must be within your control and ability to be able to achieve.
It is reasonable to expect you to set goals only in areas in which you have some influence and not ones that can be derailed completely by factors beyond your control.
A goal should always include a time frame so that you can track progress and ensure it is completed within a realistic timeframe.
When setting your goals and objectives you should also consider identifying possible milestones to achieving these goals which can be used to assess progress at review meetings.
We have made some changes to our mentoring platform to make it easier to set goals and to track your progress towards them. The SMART Goal tool is available to complete when you are in a relationship and will provide the framework to help you to clearly define and set your goals.