Why you need SMART goals in mentoring (& examples for mentors and mentees)

Learn about SMART goals, the value they have and examples to get you started.

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When it comes to any learning and development, regardless of it being for personal or professional growth, setting goals plays a vital factor in ensuring success. Mentoring relationships are valuable for both mentors and mentees, exchanging knowledge, wisdom and building a trusting relationship focused on supporting each individual's development.

Setting goals for mentoring relationships is paramount. Since mentoring is all about growth, there needs to be clear goals and objectives in place to guarantee the mentor and mentee get the most from the relationship. Without setting goals, it creates a barrier and impacts the efficacy of the relationship.

When creating mentoring goals, whether you are a mentee or mentor, we recommend setting SMART goals to help you on your journey. Throughout this article, we will be exploring the meaning of SMART goals, how they add value to the mentoring relationships and examples of SMART goals for both mentors and mentees, to get you started on your journey.

What are SMART goals?

Setting goals can feel like a challenging task when starting a mentoring relationship, but once in place, are extremely advantageous, providing purpose and direction for your mentoring journey. SMART goals are a common model used by individuals across the globe, helping set goals that are meaningful and will allow you to see and make real progress, that's why we highly recommend them during mentoring relationships.

These goals, if used correctly, will help direct you on your journey. SMART is an acronym for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound and are all factors you should consider when forming goals.

When it comes to forming goals, the first part of constructing a practical goal is ensuring it's specific. This allows you to focus your efforts and have a clear end target to reach.

For a goal to be considered SMART, it must have a measuring process in place. For a goal to be successful, it needs to be measurable, allowing you to track your progress, stay motivated and remain immersed.

During this part of the goal-setting process, you need to give yourself a little bit of a reality check. We all love challenging ourselves, but one of the most common reasons for failure to meet our goals is that they are unattainable. When setting goals you need to consider things such as skills, resources, timeframes and other factors that may impact the outcome.

This step is all about the relevance of the goal as a whole. It's all about taking a step back and determining why you want to set the goal in the first place. Is it helping you get closer to your primary objective? Is it worth the time and effort? Is this a suitable time? These are just some of the questions you need to be contemplating to guarantee your goal is relevant.

Every thriving goal has a timeframe, whether that be 1 year or 1 month, we all need a timeframe to work towards. Each goal you set needs to have a start and end date, without doing so you risk a decrease in motivation and lack of urgency to finish the goal in question. It also allows you to prioritise your goals and see which is more beneficial for your current situation.

The importance of setting goals

Now you know what a SMART goal is, let's talk about the importance of setting goals. Whether you are a mentor or a mentee, goal setting is an effective way to support you on your path of development. The science backs it up, with studies showing that 14% of people with goals are 10 times more likely to be successful than those without them, and you are 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down.

Some benefits include:

1. Setting SMART goals in mentoring provides direction for the mentor and mentee. It allows for the mentor to understand and gain insight into how they can help the mentee achieve their goals, whilst allowing the mentee to understand what they need to do to fulfil the goals they set.

2. It gives focus to the task set. Setting goals allows for the mentor and mentee to have a clear focus, allowing for priorities to be made. Having a goal for the relationship allows both parties to have a focus and allows them to make better decisions on how to achieve it.

3. It allows the mentor and mentee to see if the relationship is working. By having goals in place, both individuals can assess whether or not the relationship is proving beneficial and also recognise what parts aren’t working and come up with a solution to solve it. This helps create a highly efficient and prosperous mentoring relationship that is optimised to help the development of both individuals.

Examples of SMART goals

To help you gain a better understanding of SMART goals within mentoring and how you can apply them to different circumstances, listed below are examples for both mentors and mentees to help you progress and set effective goals.

For the mentee:
1. In 6 months, I will get a promotion in work by improving my leadership skills. To achieve this goal, I will work with my mentor every week, ensuring I continue to improve my skills and gain feedback.

2. Over the next month, I will get a volunteer role within the area I'm interested in. To do this, I will look for vacancies locally and apply for the role with the help of my mentor.

3. Within 1 year, I will gain a new qualification to help me become more efficient within my career. To achieve this, I will look for suitable qualifications that could add value to my career and put a plan in place to keep up with the schedule to achieve my qualification.

For mentors:
1. Over the next month, I will work with my mentee to become a better mentor, by working with them to identify any issues they may be facing and setting up goals. To meet this goal, I will work with my mentee fortnightly to gain insight into any challenges they face.

2. Over 6 months, I will help my mentee earn a promotion within the workplace. I will do this by listening to them and providing them with my wisdom, knowledge and feedback to help them on their journey.

3. Over the next 2 weeks, I will enrol myself in a mentoring course, to become a more efficient and more influential mentor. To do this, I will look for the course best suited to me and ensure I take the time to set aside the time to complete any tasks set.

Final Thoughts

Setting goals are important and come with many benefits, we hope this article will help you set efficient goals regardless of being a mentor or mentee.

Have fun setting your goals and achieving your dreams this year. If you need help finding a mentor, you can sign up for free today at PushFar - the world's leading mentoring and career progression platform.     
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