At the start of mentorship, the mentor and mentee need to set goals for what they want to get out of the relationship.
You and your mentor might need to put your brains together and come up with these goals as a pair. Or, the mentor and mentee might go away separately and come up with goals.
Either way, you should make sure your goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and have a clear deadline. These five elements are the core to good goals, and make up the five elements of the SMART goals framework.
I’ll give you this SMART goals template at the end of the article that you can use. But for now, let’s look at some mentorship goals examples to help inspire you.
Goals for Mentorship
Goals for the Mentee
1. Identify a Mentor: Within a 6 month period, identify and establish a connection with an individual in my field of interest who is willing to be my mentor (e.g., reaching out to successful professionals through LinkedIn).
2. Set Clear Expectations: By the end of the first mentorship meeting, negotiate and clarify roles, expectations, and objectives of the mentorship relationship with the mentor.
3. Learn New Skills: Over the next year, aim to acquire 3 new skills pertaining to my career goals under the mentor’s guidance (e.g., mastering specific software if you’re in the tech industry).
4. Gain Industry Insights: Within the next 6 months, attend at least 5 industry-related events or webinars with the mentor (like Ted Talks pertaining to your field) to gain a broader understanding of the industry.
5. Feedback Reception: Over the next three months, develop habit of actively asking for and gracefully accepting constructive criticism from the mentor to improve my professional approach.
6. Enhance Networking: In the coming year, expand my professional network by meeting or communicating with at least 10 new industry professionals, leveraging the mentor’s connections.
7. Develop Leadership Qualities: Over a 2-year time frame, aim to possess 5 distinct leadership qualities taught by the mentor (such as leading a small project team at your workplace).
8. Mentor Shadowing: In the first year, strive to shadow my mentor during 3 professional events or meetings to gain a first-hand experience of their professional conduct.
9. Attain Specific Career Goals: Over the next 3 years, achieve at least two significant career milestones (like a promotion or an important project) using mentor’s guidance and assistance.
10. Gradual Independence: Within a five-year timeline, hone skills, experiences, and confidence to a degree that I can effectively operate independently, eating the benefits of the mentorship.
11. Set Defined Milestones: Within the next month, outline specific career milestones in collaboration with the mentor, forming a clear roadmap for progression.
12. Build Confidence: Over the next 6 months, focus on self-confidence building, working on public speaking and presentation skills through targeted activities recommended by the mentor.
13. Improve Problem-Solving Skills: Within the next year, strive to improve problem-solving competency by tackling real-world scenarios under the mentor’s guidance, such as leading problem-solving brainstorming sessions in work settings.
14. Nurture Creative Thinking: Over the next two years, foster my ability to think creatively by engaging in activities or exercises suggested by my mentor, like participating in a hackathon if you’re in the software development field.
15. Embrace an Opportunistic Mindset: In the next year, work towards developing an opportunistic mindset, seizing a minimum of 3 opportunities forwarded or suggested by the mentor.
16. Cater to Personal Development: In the coming 5 years, work on personal development in line with my career growth. This could include wellness or mindfulness practices that the mentor endorses.
17. Learn Industry Jargon: Over the next six months, become proficient in industry jargon, enabling myself to better communicate with industry peers and better understand the mentor’s guidance.
18. Upgrade Technical Expertise: Dedicate the next two years to enhance technical expertise relevant to my job role, utilizing training resources suggested by the mentor, such as professional development courses from platforms like Coursera or Udemy.
19. Craft Elevator Pitch: In the next 3 months, develop a compelling 60-second elevator pitch for professional networking events, with constructive feedback from the mentor.
20. Become a Mentor: Lastly, over the next 5 years, gain enough expertise and experience to mentor someone else, thus honoring the benefits received through the mentorship and passing it forward.
21. Enhance Resume and Cover Letter: In the coming three months, refine and improve my resume and cover letter under the guidance of my mentor, tailoring them to highlight relevant skills and experiences.
22. Improve Time Management Skills: Over the next twelve months, enhance my time management abilities, implementing strategies suggested by my mentor, such as the Eisenhower Box method.
23. Establish Personal Brand: Over the next two years, work on establishing a personal brand in the industry, setting up a professional website or blog to showcase my skills and expertise.
24. Understand Workplace Dynamics: In the coming 6 months, aim to comprehend the subtle dynamics of my workplace more effectively, guided by practical insights shared by my mentor.
25. Set and Achieve Performance Goals: In the next year, set personal performance goals and strive to fulfill these objectives, assessing progress through regular discussions with my mentor.
26. Execute Successful Project: In a two year time frame, I aim to successfully plan and execute a significant project in my career, utilizing the expertise, knowledge, and guidance provided by my mentor.
27. Acquire Decision-making Skills: Over the next year, focus on improving my decision-making skills, taking on small – but consequential – decisions in my work under the mentor’s supervision.
28. Foster Emotional Intelligence: Over the next 18 months, work on enhancing my emotional intelligence, applying techniques recommended by my mentor, such as practicing empathy during team deliberations.
29. Gain Cross-functional Exposure: Within the next three years, strive to gain cross-functional exposure, undertaking tasks in various departments or scopes of your industry (for instance, a software developer working on the marketing of developed software).
30. Develop a Growth Mindset: In the upcoming year, cultivate a growth mindset embracing challenges and learning from feedback, fueled by consistent encouragement and guidance from my mentor.
31. Cultivate Professional Image: Over the next year, aim to cultivate and maintain a professional image both online and offline, by dressing professionally and updating LinkedIn regularly.
32. Learn Industry Trends: Over a period of the next 6 months, educate myself about the current trends and future predictions in my industry, through recommended reading materials from my mentor.
33. Engage in Professional Networking: In the coming year, aim to attend at least 10 networking events, both physical and virtual, to enhance the circle of my professional contacts.
34. Learn Stress Management: Over the next year, implement and practice stress management techniques suggested by my mentor, such as mindfulness practices, to ensure my well-being and efficiency at work.
35. Develop Conflict Resolution Skills: Within the next 18 months, focus on acquiring conflict resolution skills through exercises and role plays under the mentor’s guidance, such as mediating a disagreement within a project group.
36. Improve Business Etiquette: Over the next 6 months, aim to enhance my understanding and practice of business etiquette, reflecting tact and respect in my professional dealings.
37. Broaden Horizons through Books: Over the next 5 years, read at least 10 books recommended by my mentor to broaden my horizons and deepen understanding of concepts relevant to my field.
38. Enhance Negotiation Skills: Over the next 2 years, improve my negotiation skills, using strategies and techniques suggested by my mentor.
39. Start an Innovative Project: Within a five-year timeline, initiate and complete an innovative project, which could be a new product, service, or process in the organization, facilitated by the mentor’s insights and connections.
40. Create a Long-Term Career Plan: By the end of the coming year, create a well-thought-out, long-term career plan in consultation with my mentor, outlining progressive steps for the future.
41. Foster Mindfulness: Over the next year, develop mindfulness practices to improve focus and productivity, implementing techniques suggested by my mentor.
42. Expand Professional Expertise: Over a period of 5 years, expand my professional expertise by acquiring additional qualifications or certifications beneficial for my career development, such as a certification in Project Management if you’re a task manager.
43. Cultivate Resilience: During the coming year, aim to become more resilient, handling setbacks and adversities effectively with the guidance of my mentor, such as successfully navigating a failed project.
44. Develop Personal Accountability: In the next 18 months, work on developing personal accountability, owning up to the outcomes of my actions and decisions in the workspace.
45. Establish Personal Branding: Over a span of 2 years, aim to establish personal branding, positioning my unique capabilities and skills, possibly by publishing a series of articles in a reputable, industry-focused medium.
46. Enhance Presentation Skills: Within the next year, focus on improving my presentation skills, delivering at least 3-4 well-received presentations in the professional setting under my mentor’s guidance.
47. Improve Managerial Skills: In the span of the next 3 years, aim to better my ability to manage teams, effectively leading at least two project teams to successful completion.
48. Develop Analytical Thinking: Over the next 2 years, work with my mentor to develop analytical thinking skills that can enhance decision-making ability, such as completing a graduate course in data analysis.
49. Learn Adapting to Change: Over the next year, aim to embrace change more readily, successfully navigating a major shift in role, responsibility, or work environment without compromising job performance.
50. Become a Future Mentor: In the next 5 years, enhance skills, knowledge and experience to a degree where I can effectively mentor another individual, continuing the chain of development and growth.
Goals for the Mentor
1. Identify a Mentee: Within the next 6 months, identify a mentee who shows great potential and a willingness to learn, to share professional insights and experiences.
2. Establish Clear Expectations: By the end of the first mentoring session, clearly define mentoring roles, expectations, and objectives to guide the mentor-mentee relationship.
3. Teach Skills: Over the next year, aim to facilitate the learning of at least 3 new skills that can enhance the mentee’s career progression (e.g., introducing a young lawyer to unique litigation strategies).
4. Offer Industry Perspectives: In the coming six months, arrange to attend or participate in at least five industry-related events or webinars with the mentee to provide nuanced insights.
5. Provide Constructive Feedback: Over the next three months, offer regular, constructive feedback on the mentee’s work and practices to foster their professional evolution.
6. Encourage Networking: Over the next year, facilitate introductions to a minimum of 10 new and relevant industry contacts to support the mentee’s networking efforts.
7. Instil Leadership Qualities: In the span of two years, aim to instil in the mentee at least 5 distinct leadership qualities as recognized in the dynamic workplace, such as strategic thinking or team motivation.
See Also: A List of SMART Leadership Goals
8. Allow Job Shadowing: In the initial year, create opportunities for the mentee to shadow me in at least three professional scenarios to gain first-hand experience of professional conduct and job roles.
9. Support in Achieving Career Goals: Over a 3-year period, provide advice, support, and suitable opportunities to the mentee to achieve at least two significant career milestones.
10. Nurture Independency: In a five-year timeframe, work towards ensuring the mentee can operate effectively as an independent professional, equipped with the skills, confidence, and insights gleaned from the mentorship.
11. Encourage Milestone-Setting: Within the first month, assist the mentee in outlining specific career milestones to create a clear pathway towards their ultimate career objectives.
12. Build Confidence: Over the next 6 months, provide an environment for the mentee to build self-confidence, facilitating opportunities to enhance public speaking and presentation skills.
13. Enhance Problem-Solving Skills: In the course of the next year, develop the mentee’s problem-solving skills, assigning tasks that require creative solutions and direct intervention.
14. Ignite Creative Thinking: Over the next two years, aim to ignite the mentee’s ability to think creatively, introducing opportunities for innovation and out-of-the-box thinking.
15. Foster Opportunistic Mindset: In the next year, encourage the mentee to seize relevant career development opportunities, bringing a minimum of 3 suitable opportunities to their attention.
16. Support Personal Development: In the coming 5 years, support the mentee in their personal development along with professional evolution, maintaining a balance between occupational accomplishments and personal growth.
17. Familiarize with Industry Language: Over the next six months, ensure that the mentee is competent in industry jargon, opening doors to more nuanced understanding of the field’s dynamics.
18. Increase Technical Knowledge: Over the next two years, aid the mentee in enhancing their technical skills, introducing them to relevant training resources, research exercises, and industry-specific tools.
19. Improve Elevator Pitch: In the next 3 months, provide constructive feedback to the mentee as they develop an effective 60-second elevator pitch.
20. Encourage Mentoring: Over a 5-year span, inspire the mentee to reach a stage where they can share their expertise as a mentor, continuing the legacy of mentorship that I have bestowed on them.
21. Develop Resume and Cover Letter Writing Skills: In the next three months, guide the mentee in developing and refining their resume and cover letter, tailoring them to effectively display their skills.
22. Teach Time Management: Over the next twelve months, help the mentee to cultivate effective time management skills, introducing them to strategies and organizational tools.
23. Guide Professional Branding: Over the next two years, assist the mentee in establishing a professional brand. This could involve the creation of a blog or a professional website showcasing their abilities and insights.
24. Explain Workplace Dynamics: In the coming six months, provide the mentee with a deeper understanding of workplace dynamics, sharing observations and lessons from my own experiences.
25. Set and Review Performance Goals: Within the next year, assist the mentee in setting personal performance goals, and evaluate their progress in regular meetings.
26. Guide Project Execution: Over the course of two years, support the mentee in planning and execution of significant projects in their career journey, using my professional insights to address potential pitfalls.
27. Teach Decision-making Skills: Over the next year, aim to improve the mentee’s decision-making skills, involving them in decision-making processes to facilitate experiential learning.
28. Cultivate Emotional Intelligence: Over the next 18 months, guide my mentee in enhancing their emotional intelligence, emphasizing the importance of empathy, self-regulation, and effective interpersonal communication.
29. Aid Cross-functional Exposure: Within a three-year time frame, aim to provide exposure to various scopes of the industry or organization, possibly by involving the mentee in different project teams.
30. Develop a Growth Mindset: In the next year, instill a growth mindset in the mentee, encouraging them to embrace challenges and learn from feedback.
31. Refine Professional Image: Over the next year, help the mentee cultivate a professional image both offline and online, including managing their social media in a career-friendly way.
32. Expose to Industry Trends: Over the next six months, familiarize the mentee with current industry trends and future projections, offering reading resources, insights, and firsthand experiences.
33. Facilitate Networking Skills: In the coming year, support the mentee in engaging with at least 10 networking events to gain exposure and forge new professional connections.
34. Teach Stress Management: Over the next year, aid the mentee in implementing stress management techniques, sharing effective strategies and personal work-life balance approaches.
35. Instill Conflict Resolution Skills: In the next 18 months, guide the mentee in conflict resolution by providing relevant case scenarios and discussions, fostering interpersonal and problem-solving skills.
36. Inculcate Business Etiquette: Over the next six months, instruct the mentee in business etiquette, ensuring their professional dealings are conducted with tact and respect.
37. Share Relevant Literature: Over the next 5 years, recommend at least 10 books relevant to the mentee’s field of work, which will deepen understanding and broaden perspectives.
38. Develop Negotiation Skills: In the span of 2 years, assist the mentee in honing negotiation skills, using real-life examples or simulation scenarios from industry experiences.
39. Encourage Innovations: Over a five-year timeline, inspire the mentee to start and complete an innovative project that could bring tangible value to their organization or industry.
40. Guide the Creation of a Career Blueprint: In the next year, assist the mentee in creating a detailed, long-term career plan, outlining the steps needed for future progression.
41. Advocate Workplace Ethics: Over the coming year, emphasize the importance of workplace ethics, sharing examples and lessons from firsthand experiences to demonstrate their importance.
42. Hone Active Listening Skills: Within the next six months, encourage the mentee to develop active listening skills, explaining its importance and conducting exercises for practice.
43. Foster Critical Thinking: Over the next two years, guide the mentee to enhance their critical thinking, setting scenario-based assignments that require a critical approach.
44. Enrich Task-Delegating Abilities: Within a year, aid the mentee to improve their task delegation abilities, teaching them to trust others’ skills and facilitate team contributions.
45. Develop Adaptability: In the upcoming year, aid the mentee in becoming more adaptable, helping them navigate change more comfortably by sharing insights and strategies for dealing with professional transitions.
46. Assist in Analytical Skill Development: In a timeline of two years, help the mentee in developing analytical skills, guiding them through statistical reports, professional studies, or other data analysis projects related to their field.
47. Mentor to Develop Empathy: Over the next 18 months, encourage the mentee to empathize with peers and subordinates, sharing experiences that illustrate the importance of emotional understanding in the workspace.
48. Share Insights on Team Motivation: Within the next two years, share insights with the mentee on motivating team members, using illustrations from past experiences to convey strategies for effective team leadership.
49. Foster Cultural Competence: Throughout the next year, aim to build cultural competence in the mentee, educating them about the importance of respecting diverse perspectives and cultural backgrounds in a global workforce.
50. Cultivate Self-Improvement Habit: In the coming six months, instill a habit of constant self-improvement in the mentee, emphasizing the importance of regular skill upgrades, feedback sessions, and learning opportunities.
51. Develop Workplace Politics Understanding: Over the next year, ensure the mentee has a realistic understanding of workplace politics, offering solutions to navigate such scenarios effectively based on personal experiences.
Make SMART Mentorship Goals
Once you have selected a few goals for your mentorship, it’s best to build them out into SMART goals. You might even want to do this in a mentoring session!
S.M.A.R.T is a goalsetting acronym. Here’s what it stands for:
- Specific: Ensure your goal has very clear, specific objectives. Check with your mentor for feedback – they might identify errors or vagaries in the language.
- Measurable: Ensure you have a way to measure progress toward your goal. For the mentee, you could request that your mentor qualitatively measure progress over time during regular check-ins.
- Achievable: The goal should be reasonably achievable by the end of the mentorship. If it’s a short mentorship, don’t set goals that are too ambitious that you’ll never meet them in time. Check with your mentor to see if they think the goal is achievable.
- Relevant: Your goals need to be relevant to your broader aims and objectives, such as promotions or achieving a 10-year ambition of yours.
- Time-Bound: It’s important to ensure the goal has a deadline because this compels you into taking action rather than pushing it off for another day. The deadline may, for example, be by the end of the formal mentorship period.
Grab the template to print or edit here:
Davis, W. D., Mero, N., & Goodman, J. M. (2007). The interactive effects of goal orientation and accountability on task performance. Human Performance, 20(1), 1-21. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/08959280709336926
Daw, N. D. (2015). Of goals and habits. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112(45), 13749-13750. doi: https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1518488112
Doran, G. T. (1981). There’s a S.M.A.R.T. Way to Write Management’s Goals and Objectives. Journal of Management Studies, 70-75.
Latham G.P., Locke E.A. (2018) Goal Setting Theory. In The SAGE Encyclopedia of Industrial and Organizational Psychology. London: SAGE.
Milne, S., Orbell, S., and Sheeran, P. (2002). Combining Motivational and Volitional Interventions to Promote Exercise Participation: Protection Motivation Theory and Implementation Intentions, British Journal of Health Psychology, 7(2): 163–184. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1348/135910702169420
Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]