16 Examples of Mentorship Goals for Your Organization

A successful mentoring relationship or program starts with clear goals. This article explores over a dozen examples of mentoring goals you can implement today.

Matthew Reeves

CEO of Together

Published on 

July 14, 2021

Updated on 

August 28, 2023

Time to Read

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I hate to break it to you, but if you want to succeed at anything, you’ve got to set some goals.

But goal-setting is difficult, especially when it comes to getting that A in SMART goals. How do you know if your goal is achievable? Are you setting the bar too high? Or worse, too low? 

Mentors and mentorship programs can help employees achieve their short- and long-term goals, but mentoring relationships themselves need goals, too. Whether you’re the mentor, mentee, or the person running the mentorship program, you have to know where you’re going if you’re ever going to get there. Otherwise, it’s a waste of time for everyone. 

So we’ve rounded up 16 mentor program goals for professional development — whether you’re the mentor, mentee, or starting a mentoring program.

6 Goals for Mentees

In any mentor-mentee relationship, the mentee will benefit directly from clearly defined goals. 

To set their goals, a mentee really needs to understand the purpose of their mentorship. Do they want to follow in their mentor’s footsteps? Or are they looking for advice and guidance to inform their career decisions? The answer to this key question will inform the kinds of goals a mentee sets in a mentoring relationship. 

Examples of mentee goals for a mentorship program

1. Learn new skills

Skill sets for jobs have changed by 25% since 2015—a number that’s expected to double by 2027. So it’s not surprising that one of the most common reasons that employees look for mentorships is to develop specific skills. These skill upgrades, also known as upskilling, are one of the best ways to become better at a job. 

For example, if the mentee works in sales, a mentor could help them work on their cold-calling skills. Or a team member looking to move into management might ask their mentor to help them learn leadership skills. 

Upskilling can also be applied to other types of mentorship as well. For example, in reverse mentorship, a more experienced employee takes on the mentee’s role and is taught something by the more junior employee. 

This dynamic helps the mentor develop new skills from the mentee’s knowledge. Most often, these reverse mentorships are connected to developing technology skills and capabilities. For instance, a senior sales manager who excels at cold-calling might lack skills in using a CRM. A junior employee might have those skills and can be a reverse mentor.

SMART Suggestion: To become proficient in X skill within six months.

2. Map out a career path

Mentorships are great for crafting a long-term career plan. But careers aren’t as linear as they once were. The average American changes jobs 12 times in their life, staying at each job for less than 5 years. In 2022 alone, nearly half of workers who changed jobs changed industries too

Experienced workers who have switched careers themselves or hold a position similar to the one a mentee is seeking make great mentors. A relationship with a mentor can help younger employees navigate a squiggly career — the term for a career path that isn't defined by climbing the corporate ladder or takes many different paths.

Mentors can help in other ways as well. According to Deloitte’s 2023 Gen Z and Millennial Survey, 50% of Gen Zs and 49% of Millennials believe it will be harder or impossible to get a promotion in the coming years.

A mentor can help a mentee identify specific goals to take their career to the next level while also adding to their own resume.

SMART Suggestion: To obtain a pay increase of X% within the next five years.

3. Grow your professional network

Mentorships are a great way for younger employees to expand their network of contacts. Their mentors are likely individuals who work in the same industry and can help connect their mentees with influential people in their field. This can open up opportunities that would be harder to come by without professional connections.

Growing your network is a good goal to have in the long term, but it shouldn’t be the only goal. A mentor can feel used if they feel their only purpose is to expand their mentee’s network.

Consider a networking goal after the mentee has learned valuable lessons from their mentor’s experience. 

SMART Suggestion: To connect with X colleagues in my field this year.

The benefits of being a mentee

4. Learn about the business 

For newer employees, a mentor can provide useful insight into corporate culture. Their short-term goal may be to become more aware of workplace routines, policies, and expectations via an onboarding mentorship program. Adjusting to a company’s culture quickly will help new hires hit the ground running and set them up for success. 

A mentee may even want to set some long-term learning goals. For example, someone in marketing might want to job shadow someone in manufacturing to learn more about the company’s products. The great thing about learning-based goals is they can ladder back up to overall career goals as a key part of career planning.

SMART Suggestion: To complete onboarding within my first two weeks.

5. Find a sponsor to champion your professional development

Research has shown that employees who have a mentor are more likely to be promoted throughout their careers. This also means higher compensation and increased career satisfaction. That success is even more likely if the mentee has a sponsor, that is, someone who will advocate for them as they progress in their career. 

Sponsorship programs can work in tandem with a mentorship program or as a stand-alone initiative. Of course, it’s best if both are available.

6. Solve complex problems

‍A mentor can coach their mentee through problems or act as an advisor to learn problem-solving skills. 

For example, problems or situations a mentee could ask about include:

  • Task delegation: “I tried to delegate a task last week, and it did not go as well as I’d expected. Can you help me think through what to do differently next time?”
  • Career concerns: “I have these two very different career path options and would like your help making a decision.”
  • Job performance: “I have a performance review coming up with my manager. Could you help me prepare?”

By asking questions like these, mentors can guide their mentee and help them determine how best to address their challenges. 

SMART Suggestion: To collaborate with my mentor on 3 key problems in Q3. 

4 Goals for Mentors

Mentors stand to benefit from mentoring relationships just as much as their protégés. Mentors may wish to validate their leadership skills, learn better communication, increase their emotional intelligence, or learn better empathy. They can even gain a fresh perspective from a more junior employee.

Examples of mentor goals for a mentoring relationship

1. Grow leadership skills

Leadership skills ranked as the top training topic for managers in LinkedIn’s 2023 Workplace Learning Report. Mentorships are a great way for senior employees to learn these skills as part of their own professional development. 

The responsibility of guiding someone’s career and helping them to set goals requires the senior employee to teach, motivate, and provide honest feedback — skills necessary for successful leaders.

SMART Suggestion: To mentor two team members in FY 2024.

2. Develop a reputation as an advisor and guide for others

Being an advocate for a co-worker advances the mentor’s career as well. 

One study revealed that 66% of sponsors are satisfied with their ability to “deliver on difficult projects.” This ability to deliver on major initiatives pays off, too, with 39% of those in mentoring roles saying they’re happy with their professional legacy. 

Over time mentors become known as counselors who are willing to assist others and build up the company. 

SMART Suggestion: To sponsor a junior employee with potential in 2023.

The advantages of mentoring others

3. Learn soft skills

Soft skills like emotional intelligence and communication are key to career development and organizational success. But these skills are only learned through practice, which makes mentorships a great training ground. 

As a mentor, you can learn how to listen first and then respond. Additionally, you’ll learn how to communicate sometimes difficult feedback to your mentee. 

If your goal is to increase your emotional intelligence and become a more effective communicator, being a mentor is a great way to achieve that goal.

SMART Suggestion: To learn more about what motivates me at work by taking the Teal Work Style Assessment by EOM.

4. Gain new perspectives

While the mentor is usually transferring knowledge to their mentee, a mentee can help executives learn new skills and get different perspectives on things like technological trends or employee well-being. In one study, 32% of sponsors said they enjoyed the awareness they got from their junior colleagues

Senior executives may lose touch with the front lines of their companies as they grow in their roles. 

SMART Suggestion: To talk to 10 junior employees each quarter to find out their major concerns at work.

How to execute ‘audacious’ goals

John Doerr is an engineer, acclaimed venture capitalist and the chairman of Kleiner Perkins. In this Ted Talk, he breaks down why the secret to success is setting the right goals. Doerr shows us how we can get back on track with "Objectives and Key Results," or OKRs -- a goal-setting system employed by the likes of Google, Intel and Bono to set and execute audacious goals. Learn more about how setting the right goals can mean the difference between success and failure in your mentoring relationship.

6 Goals for Workplace Mentorship Programs

An organization that is developing a workplace mentoring program is usually looking to fix a problem, such as a high employee turnover rate or lack of diversity. Goals not only create targeted solutions for these problems; they also measure the ROI of your mentorship program.

Examples of workplace mentoring program goals
It's worthwhile to share what Wendy Axelrod, author of 10 Steps to Successful Mentoring, has to say about tying your goals to strategic initiatives you have in your organization. Our CEO, Matt Reeves interviewed Wendy to understand what successful mentoring programs do differently. Here's what she had to say about organizational mentoring goals:

1. Increase employee engagement 

Mentorship is an effective way to enhance employee engagement because it fosters connections between employees, a key factor in workplace satisfaction and engagement. 

But according to Indeed’s 2023 Workplace Wellbeing Report, only 29% of employees are thriving at work. This leads to low morale — increasing employee churn and decreasing productivity. 

Through mentorship, new employees will better understand the corporate culture and what is expected of them. The connection employees make with a mentor will also give them a feeling of belonging and show them that they’re valuable. Employees in mentoring relationships are more intrinsically motivated and more engaged at work.

SMART Suggestion: To increase employee engagement by X% YoY.

2. Reduce employee turnover

The cost of employee turnover is high. Research has indicated hiring a new employee can cost up to 75 percent of an existing employee’s salary

Find out how much employee turnover is costing your organization

A workplace mentoring program can make employees feel valued and a part of an organization, which will ultimately help with employee retention. 

Additionally, a happy engaged employee is almost twice as likely as an unhappy employee to effectively prioritize work and put more time and energy into tasks. The sense of accomplishment that comes from this level of commitment keeps employees at the company longer. In fact, 89% of workers with a strong sense of well-being say they’ll stay with their employer for the next year.

SMART Suggestion: To decrease employee churn by X% YoY.

3. Build a talent pipeline

A study in Frontiers in Psychology suggested that organizations looking to motivate employees need to prioritize staff promotions. By providing job opportunities and inclusive leadership, organizations can motivate employees and build a talent pipeline.

A mentor-mentee relationship allows a senior employee to pass along their knowledge to the younger employee so they are equipped to take over when the senior employee retires. The senior manager can successfully give new managers the tools for success in their role.

SMART Suggestion: To create an internal knowledge base to encourage knowledge transfer. 

4. Improve diversity and inclusion

Research has shown that companies with a diversity of race and gender in leadership roles have higher productivity and earnings

But employees from marginalized groups face challenges and obstacles that other employees don’t. For example, at non-diverse companies, people of color may not have many sponsorship offers or built-in mentors. 

A mentoring program can help close this gap and help your organization become more diverse and inclusive by creating opportunities for workers who were historically left out of leadership functions, like women and people of color.

In turn, these employees bring a wider range of experiences and insights to the organization that help overcome marketplace hurdles, improve productivity, and increase earnings. 

SMART Suggestion: To implement a diverse mentoring program by FY 2024.

5. Attract and retain top talent

Mentorship is a cost-effective method for attracting and retaining talent. In our experience, Randstad employees were 49% less likely to leave the company if they had participated in a mentoring program.

Companies that know how to run a mentorship program are bound to have a good reputation in their industry and among job seekers. Statistics show that younger workers value organizations that invest in them and offer growth opportunities. And LinkedIn has identified mentorship programs as the top area of focus in L&D for 2023.

For organizations that want to attract top talent, a mentoring program that promises access to growth and development can be a key selling point for candidates. 

SMART Suggestion: To offer custom development plans for employees all by 2025.

6. Nurture high-potential employees

Organizations have a hard enough time attracting high-potential talent to their companies. When they have them, however, they need to groom them for leadership positions. Mentorship is an effective way to prepare high-potential employees for successful careers within your organization. 

Mentors will direct high-performers toward opportunities for growth within the company rather than outside it.

To learn how to keep your top talent engaged while leading them into meaningful roles where they can make the most impact see our white paper “The Definitive Guide to High Potential Talent Programs.”

SMART Suggestion: To identify 20 high-potential employees by EoY.

For Better Outcomes Write Down Your Mentoring Goals

Setting goals as a mentor or mentee is critical, but you need to write them down to ensure the action follows commitment. 

In her research, Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at Dominican University, found that we’re 42% more likely to achieve personal goals if they’re written down. 

We can’t argue with science.

So take inspiration from these mentoring goal examples, and then write down goals that mean something to you.

Mentoring software is a valuable tool to have when creating a workplace mentoring program. Together can assist in developing mentoring programs that meet the goals of mentors, mentees, and organizations. 

Ready to achieve mentoring goals? Book a demo 

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