The 5 Parts of Every Effective Mentoring Goal

Setting effective mentoring goals can be the definitive reason why mentorship works. They are the mold that allows the mentee to grow, and eventually break through. But in order to be an effective mentoring goal, there are 5 parts that always have to be present. By ensuring that you always have these 5 attributes, you can be certain that your mentoring goals will be effective and useful for both you and your mentee.

The Ultimate Goal

This is, of course, the reason why a mentee has a mentor to begin with. It could be to improve their leadership skills, their ability to make sales, or simply how to better manage their work-life schedule. You may often hear that goals should be clear, set, with no ambiguity. Depending on the kind of goal, this is true, more on that later. But when it comes to an overall goal, it’s better to be vague. This allows the mentor to know what general direction they want to go, while giving the mentee room to expand their horizons and improve upon other skills along the way. Your mentoring goals will be set along this path, so treat this one as a framework to build your mentoring career with your mentee.

Small, But Direct Signifiers of Results

This is the part that absolutely needs to be clear. An effective mentoring goal has clear ways to know when that goal is being achieved. Say you want to set a goal to improve one’s sales acumen, an example, a smaller goal would be “close five more deals than your average.” And when the mentee meets or fails to meet this goal, then you have a much clearer view into potential strengths and weaknesses they have. It also gives them a direct way to apply the skills that you have taught and fostered within them, making their progress visible to themselves as well as you. Before you can set an effective mentoring goal, you need to know ways your mentee can know when they meet it.

A Clear Timeline

Not only do you need a clear way of knowing that a goal is being achieved, you also need a good time frame of knowing when they are. Having a direct signifier of results means little if there’s no set time to meet them. This isn’t to say that a mentoring journey needs to only be glorified to-do list, but it is extremely helpful to both the mentor and mentee to have deadlines. To return to the example with sales, instead of just saying that we want to “close five more deals than your average”, we can change it to “close five more deals than your average this quarter“. By doing this, the mentee knows how much time they are working with, and can maintain focus on the task at hand.

What to Do When it’s Met

A common pitfall in many mentoring journeys is that they set too many small goals, meet them, and feel accomplished without gaining much. Remember, everyone can improve on something, nobody is perfect. If your mentee is excelling at the tasks you’ve given them, ensure that they can continue this momentum moving forward. This is also when a healthy and communicative relationship with your mentee is paramount, too many times a gifted mentee has had their potential stifled when their mentor sees them developing fast and then saddles them with too much. Be wary of your mentee’s weaknesses as well as their strengths, and ensure that they can continue to grow while avoiding being the straw that breaks their backs. Back with the sales example, let’s say that they’ve met their goal of the extra five sales for their average, now it’s time to continue your plan for the mentoring journey, do you want to increase the amount they want to shoot for or aim for them to do the same amount consistently? On one hand, it seems a good idea to play by the ear from time to time, and it can be, but it’s important to have a plan beforehand to ensure that the mentee has a consistent plan moving forward.

What to do when it isn’t

Setting too large of a goal is just as much of a problem as setting too small of one. The best way to achieve anything in life is to both hope for the best, and yet prepare for the worst. Being a mentor is no different. In order to properly set a mentoring goal, you need to hope that they succeed in a benchmark you set, but also know what to do when they can’t, won’t, or don’t. Once again, you must know your mentee, and how well you do will determine how you move forward. The more you know your mentee, the better chance you have at properly evaluating why they couldn’t measure up. Were you too hard? Did they stumble somewhere? Was there some third factor that neither of you can control? Whether or not you set smaller goals, help them understand and address their failings, or simply try again will be based on these answers. Did the lack in an increase of sales happen because the mentee failed to use your teachings effectively, did you not properly give them the tools to improve, or did it happen because this is a slow quarter for their company? As their mentor, you must know how to respond to these major variables.

As cannot be stated enough, the goals in mentoring can be the difference between an effective mentorship program and one that fails to help the mentee. There are many things that can go south in a mentorship program, things as personality conflicts between a mentor and their mentee, a lack of communication, or general poor alignment between the two. These problems often get the most attention, but you have to be certain that all your bases are covered. By ensuring that you know each of these 5 things before setting them, you can be sure that your mentoring goals are the absolute best that they can be. Good luck!

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Facilitate Better Mentoring With These Seven Ideas

Mentorship can seem like a buzzword that people use to get fast professional development, but it’s much more than that. Mentorship can be a fruitful relationship between two people, especially when you consider the exchanging of ideas that takes place. But making that connection between mentee and mentor is not always easy. It can take quite a bit of dedication and additional support to make it function properly.

Members of the Forbes Technology Council weighed in on what makes a deeper connection between mentees and mentors. They agreed that mentorship is a two-way street, but it also needs support from the company for the best possible results.

1. Make Yourself Available 

To connect mentors and mentees, take the initiative to make yourself available to new employees and mentor by example. Whether it’s face to face or through email, letting new employees know you are available for them is crucial in developing productive and prepared employees. Additionally, by demonstrating your work ethic and daily grit, they will learn more than by simply telling them. – Alexandro Pando, Xyrupt

2. Engage In Reverse-Mentoring

A mentor-mentee relationship can be established more effectively if the flow of information and knowledge happens both ways. Both parties mentor each other in the areas of expertise that they bring to table. If the mentee switches the role and starts mentoring the mentor, then the engagement goes up few notches. The joy of learning would establish a long-term relationship between both parties. – Mandar BhagwatSpadeWorx Software Services

3. Rely On Mentorship Software

There are amazing mentorship platforms out there. For connecting with alums, there’s software like FirstHand, and for engineering managers, there’s Plato. There are plenty of others out there, but why reinvent the wheel when there are dedicated companies for specific situations? – David

4. Make Mentoring A Priority

Mentoring is an excellent way to enable a new hire to adjust to the company culture and understand how to grow in their career. Make mentoring a formal program and buddy up every new hire with a mentor who’s not in the same group but rather in the same function. This enables an open growth path to learn more about the art and company culture beyond the responsibilities in the current role. This can then be extended with every promotion as well. Have mentors pair up with mentees at every level to enable coaching. – Pratik BhadraBluecore

5. Look Outside Your Department

It’s easy for senior members of a team to take one of their coworkers under their wing. However, professional growth comes from working with members of other areas of the company. Try encouraging leaders to seek out non-technical employees who often have insight that can help the IT team, as well as broaden the non-tech employee’s horizons. You may find your next best IT pro in the mailroom! – Jason GillAttracta

6. Identify Additional Support

I think businesses too often think that having a mentorship program is simply assigning a mentor as a new associate enters the office. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Identify where mentoring or additional support is necessary. Is it only engineering or is it company-wide? Is it technical mentorship or professional development? What you may find is that a new associate has multiple purpose-based mentors. – Kyle PretschLucky Band Jeans

7. Create A Culture Of Servant Leadership”

Before a system is created, servant leadership needs to reign. New employees can benefit most from a veteran who cares about helping mentees connect their personal goals with business challenges ahead. What drives their career? How do they approach the pursuit of goals while doing the job? A systematic one-on-one approach needs to be honored for full effect. – Timo ReinPipedrive

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10 Quick Ideas for Becoming a More Effective Mentee

Mentorship is often studied from the perspective of the mentor, but here are ten quick ideas for becoming an effective mentee.

Innumerable studies and books have been written, and many conversations have been had, about mentorship. In fact, the amount of information that is available on how to be an effective mentor is almost overwhelming. However, for those who are seeking a mentor, the experience can be different. There seems to be an unstated assumption that being a mentor is active while being a mentee is passive. Perhaps this assumption needs to be challenged.

The benefits of a mentoring relationship are undeniable. Effective mentoring can lead to career success in the form of promotions, raises, and new opportunities.1 Being a mentor encourages self-reflection. It can also help a person improve their communication skills and expand their professional network—competencies that carry far beyond the person-to-person mentorship relationship.2 For an organization, having a mentorship program can result in higher employee engagement, stronger employee retention, and increased collaboration.3 Companies like Google, GE, Boeing, and Caterpillar (just to name a few) boast about the influence that their mentorship programs have had on their organizational cultures and effectiveness.

Amid this strong evidence, though, exists a potentially harmful assumption for anyone who is seeking a mentor. Mentoring would seem to be a good thing in and of itself, but most research has focused on the impact of being mentored without describing how the relationship operates. For example, a poorly designed or implemented mentorship program may honor outdated models of work and cause more harm than good. Poor experiences can cause the mentor and the mentee to have negative emotional and psychological reactions as well as poor feelings about their respective organizations.4

One important aspect that distinguishes successful mentorship experiences from unsuccessful ones is how they are designed. The best versions are intentional and focused. They create the expectation and space for mentees to take ownership of their experiences instead of relying on their mentors to “take them under their wing.” Through a survey and multiple interviews with mentors and mentees, the EDUCAUSE professional learning team sought to discover the most important things mentees can do to help ensure they have a positive mentorship experience. Here are ten actions for mentees to consider:

  1. Drive the relationship.
    Mentees should drive the mentorship relationships. Oftentimes, mentees and mentors believe that a mentor, as the senior person in a company or group, should maintain the relationship, but in reality, mentees are often in a better position to do this. Mentees should set goals to review with their mentors, agree on the amount of time each person can invest, and suggest how they would like to work with their mentors. Driving the relationship may be uncomfortable at first but doing so will keep the focus on the mentee’s needs.
  2. Balance formal and informal mentoring.
    Mentees should work intentionally to balance formal and informal mentoring. Our survey showed that mentees benefitted nearly as much from mentors who were formally assigned to them through a work program as they did from mentors who acted informally by doing things such as providing feedback after a meeting, reviewing a project, or having a conversation over coffee. Effective mentees should be on the lookout for mentors in all spaces.
  3. Seek the most personal means to connect.
    In the world today, people often default to impersonal methods of communication, such as emails, text messages, or Slack conversations. Respondents to our survey almost unanimously spoke about the benefit of mentees asking for more personal ways to communicate. In-person meetings, shared meals, or virtual meetings make mentors and mentees feel more valued, but mentees may need to ask directly for such time.
  4. Be courageous.
    An effective mentee is a courageous mentee. Mentees should ask questions even if the answers may seem obvious. They should make it clear through words and actions that mentors can openly give them feedback—even if it is critical. Mentees should understand that setbacks are learning experiences and be willing to stand in the discomfort of growth even when doing so is challenging.
  5. Be clear about the ask.
    Mentees who grow the most as a result of the mentorship experience are often the clearest on what they want and need from it. Mentees should be specific about their goals and articulate how mentors can help them the most. Even if mentees are not yet clear on either, they should be clear that they are unclear. Mentees should not be afraid to let their mentors know that they need to brainstorm.
  6. View feedback as a gift.
    Mentees know that feedback—whether it is positive or negative—is a gift. Feedback requires people to manage their egos and be open. Mentees should assume their mentors have the best intentions and recognize that their feedback is also a gift. Mentees who struggle to accept feedback from their mentors may find it helpful to talk with their mentors about how they would like to receive feedback. This may help mentors to grow as well.
  7. Provide value.
    Mentees should recognize their capacity to provide value to their mentors and identify opportunities to provide value by learning about their mentors’ interests and connecting the dots. This could mean sending their mentor an article based on a discussion, attending a speaking engagement, or just listening when their mentor may need an ear.5
  8. Be prepared.
    Each time a mentee interacts with their mentor in a formal way, they should have a plan. Mentees should always arrive with an agenda and questions to ensure the meeting is productive and be willing to adjust as needed.
  9. Have realistic expectations.
    Mentees know that everyone is a superhero in their own right, but mentors most likely put their capes on for emergencies instead of wearing them all day, every day. Give mentors space and grace to be human. No one is perfect, including mentors (and mentees shouldn’t want mentors to be perfect).
  10. Show gratitude.
    Giving thanks may not be formally required in a mentoring program; however, it is always welcomed. Mentors are sharing their time, knowledge, and resources in an effort to help their mentees advance. Mentees should express gratitude and provide specific feedback about how their mentors have impacted their professional lives.

A mentoring relationship is a symbiotic experience that can pay dividends in the long run. Getting the most out of the experience will require an investment of time and action to see results. Once a mentee has advanced in their career, they should be sure to return the favor and make an investment in another promising individual. No one knows better than a mentee the impact such an investment can have.

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How to Make the Most Out of A Meeting with Your Mentor

We’re starting to see signs of a light at the end of the tunnel, and with that, new possibilities for what’s ahead. As you think about your next step, maybe you could use some help figuring out what that looks like.

If you’ve landed here, you probably know that a mentor, or even a network of mentors, can give you the support you need to grow your career and prepare for new opportunities. When you’re connecting with someone who’s likely in a senior position and working in a role that you aspire to, it can be intimidating. But if you play your cards right and prepare yourself well, you’ll reap the rewards.

We turned to the experts to find out how to make the most of everyone’s time—your mentor’s and your own.

Here are three tips to help you prepare for your next mentor meeting so you can get the support you need.

#1 Get clear on what you need

Whether it’s your first meeting with a new mentor, or one of many, the same advice applies: set your objective ahead of time. Pinpoint what you’re struggling with and what you want your mentor to guide you on.

“These meetings are yours. I want you to own it and make sure the meetings cover exactly what it is that you need,” says Aimee Bateman in Finding and Benefiting from a Mentor.

Maybe you have an opportunity to take on a new role in your organization, or you’re returning to the workforce after taking time off, or you’re trying to make a career pivot. Whatever your goal is, prepare for the meeting by thinking about what’s important to you in your personal and professional development:

  • What have you enjoyed doing in your previous roles or current role? Why? What did you dislike?
  • What do you excel at? And equally, what are your limitations?
  • What do you wish you were better at? What do you want to learn?
  • Who do you like working with? Who do you prefer not to work with?
  • What motivates you? What is a priority for you right now? (e.g. income, flexibility, being your own boss, receiving recognition, etc.)

Taking the time to step back and think about your experience in advance will help you focus your thoughts and give your mentor valuable information to respond to.

#2 Create a connection by asking: ‘Why?’

A mentor is someone you admire. You may want to follow in their footsteps, or at the very least, learn from their experience. To do that, you have to go beyond what they have on their LinkedIn profile or company bio—what they do—and try to get insight into why they’ve made certain choices that got them to where they are today.

In How to be a Good Mentor and Mentee, Emilie Airies explains that ‘why’ questions help you get to the root of people’s values:

  • Why did you choose to move from Toronto to San Francisco?
  • Why did you choose to leave tech for political campaigns?
  • Why did you decide to work at this particular company?

“Then go ahead and share your own ‘why’ too,” says Airies: What motivates you? What are you hopeful for? Why do you identify with their career?

At our core, we all want to connect. And when you’re willing to be vulnerable and go beyond small talk, not only will your meeting be more fulfilling (to both of you!) but you’ll also have created a connection that will last.

If this is your first meeting and you find you are connecting on shared values, Airies says this is the time to “take things to the next level” and close out the meeting with a clear ask. Depending on your goals, you can ask your mentor to review your resume, make an introduction, advise on a project, or another specific ask related to where you most need support.

#3 Figure out what your mentor expects

Many times mentors have specific expectations for proteges, says Ellen Ensher in Being a Good Mentee. She shares a story about Hilde, an experienced politician, who was mentoring Sharon, an aspiring politician:

“Because fundraising skills are so crucial in politics, Hilde told Sharon that she needed to demonstrate her confidence in fundraising before their next meeting. She challenged Sharon to raise $10,000 and share details for how to raise money successfully. Sharon raised the full amount and gained confidence in this important skill. She also earned the respect of Hilde and their relationship deepened.”

If your mentor doesn’t tell you what they expect, don’t be afraid to ask:

  • What are your expectations (or hopes or wishes) for this relationship?
  • What is your recommendation for my next steps before we meet again?

Most important, be sure to follow up, not only to thank them for their time and advice but also once you’ve completed whatever tasks they recommended. When you show initiative, action, and interest, it goes a long way to build trust, create connection, and validate your commitment to the relationship.

Source: ~ By: Rachel Parnes   Image: Canva Pro

Newsletter, The Value of Mentoring

Mentoring Statistics in 2022: Everything You Need to Know

Updated for 2022: Having a mentoring relationship is often noted as being one of the most beneficial things you can do for your career and personal development. Whether you want a mentor to progress in your career or are someone who struggles with soft skills, a mentor is there to help you develop on your journey. A vast number of studies have shown that some incredible benefits come with being a mentor or being mentored, from an enhanced network and the higher possibilities of being promoted within your organization. We’re now seeing the number of people looking for a mentor rapidly increase with the number of businesses now implementing mentoring programs to improve the learning, development, and skills of their employees. With the demand for mentoring rapidly increasing and a large amount of research available, we’ve compiled the latest mentoring statistics list, some of which you probably didn’t know about… READ MORE

76% Of People Think Mentors Are Important, But Only 37% Have One

Many successful people attribute part of their professional success to having a mentor. Mentors provide a wealth of knowledge and experience to us, they guide us through challenges and increase our likelihood of success, they lift us up and take our success personally. They are invaluable.

So why do only 37% of professionals have one?

Olivet Nazarene University wondered why too. They recently surveyed 3,000 people about professional mentor-mentee relationships to see what they look like in 2019.

Here’s what they found:

  1. 76% of people think mentors are important, however, only 37% of people currently have one.
  2. Most people opt for same-sex mentors (69% women, 82% men)
  3. People with mentors are happier at their current jobs than those without.
  4. Only 14% of mentor relationships started by asking someone to be their mentor. 61% of those relationships developed naturally…  READ MORE

Data Shows Mentors are Vital to Small Business Success

A survey of more than 200 small businesses sheds light on the importance of mentorship among entrepreneurs.

Kabbage, Inc., a global financial services, technology and data platform serving small businesses, surveyed more than 200 small businesses throughout the US to understand the importance of mentorship to small business owners. The findings show:

Only 22 percent of small businesses had mentors when they started business. Another 17 percent indicated they have an advisor, which suggests a paid relationship for consulting and advice. This leaves a wide percentage of business owners, 63 percent, not pursuing professional guidance at the onset of their business.

92 percent of small businesses agree mentors have a direct impact on the growth and the survival of their business. A separate Kabbage report revealed that 84 percent of small businesses reach profitability in the first four years of their business, with 68 percent attaining profitability in the first year. The early years of any business is a crucial make-or-break period and most small businesses agree mentors are vital to success. READ MORE

10 Top Ways to Recruit Mentors Within Your Business

Recruiting mentors is one of the biggest challenges organizations face when starting a mentoring program, so here are our top 10 ideas to help you out.

How effective your mentoring program is entirely dependent on the participants you recruit. Mentoring within an organization is becoming increasingly significant with 67% of businesses reporting an increase in productivity and 55% stating an increase in profits due to mentoring programs. Starting a program within your company is the start of truly exciting times ahead and a chance for real transformation.

Over the years, mentoring has proven extremely beneficial to organizations with the benefits outweighing any costs involved. However, one of the most frequent challenges faced is actually how to recruit effective mentors within your organization. You should be considering these ideas when it comes to recruiting and retaining your mentors… READ MORE

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