Did you know that mentees are promoted five times more often than those not taking part in a mentorship program?
After such a staggering statistic, it is quite easy to see the value that mentors bring to employees and their workplaces. 89% of mentees also go on to mentor others which then creates an ever-expanding environment of education and mentorship.
If you have been with a company that has a mentorship program for a while, you may have considered whether or not you would make a good mentor. Or, if you are currently mentoring, you may want to ensure that you also benefit from the process.
In this article, we will break down what it takes to be a mentor, why you should set mentoring goals for yourself, and some examples of good mentor goals.
Are you ready to be a mentor?
You may initially feel that you are not the right fit to be a mentor, as it is common to wonder if you have the right skills or experiences. This phenomenon is called imposter syndrome – the feeling that you are masquerading behind luck instead of a product of talent and hard work.
This, however, is not indicative of whether or not you will be successful as a mentor.
All you really need to be a successful mentor is to be established in your current field, have the willingness to share wisdom with others in a constructive manner and have the availability to commit to an extra task.
If you check all of these boxes, then, congratulations, you are the perfect mentor candidate!
Researchers from the University of Wisconsin actually found that the most important part of a successful mentorship is a mentor who is genuinely passionate about the opportunity and invested in the mentee.
Ensuring you do your due diligence to make the most of the opportunity for yourself and your mentee is what will set you up to be a good mentor. This, consequently, begins with setting good mentor goals.
Mentees aren’t the only ones who benefit from the relationship
A common misconception about being a mentor is that you only exist to better the mentee. Mentors actually have a lot to gain from a mentorship while still primarily serving their mentee(s). In fact, mentorship programs are mutual learning opportunities.
Through the process, mentors can learn more about their leadership style and skills while honing their communication abilities. Mentees also provide valuable new perspectives from, typically, younger generations. By combining these new outlooks with established practices and industry knowledge, you only grow as a professional and mentor.
In addition to the above, mentorship provides a way to give back to your workplace. In the process, you also may discover new talent who you can then utilize to build your team or to prepare for exciting leadership roles that benefit your company.
Why you should set goals for yourself as a mentor
Although much of your attention should be devoted to your mentee, it is important to have your own personal goals for the process. After all, you are advocating for the importance of goal-setting and development to your mentee. You, therefore, should take that same advice for yourself. Every opportunity is a learning opportunity and a chance to demonstrate key skills.
Goals also give your mentorship experience direction. Instead of aimlessly mentoring someone without regard for success metrics or bettering your personal skills, you miss out on opportunities to demonstrate the value you bring as a mentor and to improve on your strengths and weaknesses.
Setting good goals also makes the mentoring process easier as you understand what areas to target and what you want to get out of it.
10 meaningful goals for mentors to set for themselves when starting a mentoring relationships
Undoubtedly, the mentorship process can seem overwhelming at the start. There are a lot of variables to consider, and every mentee’s interpersonal dynamic will be slightly different. You may have intended to set your own goals and lost track of time.
However, it is never too late to start and, to help, here are a few examples of some useful goals for mentors:
Become a better leader
By working with a mentee, you are already establishing yourself as a peer leader. However, working through the mentorship process with your counterpart will provide you with the opportunity to understand your strengths (and weaknesses) as a leader. By setting this goal, you are committing to use the insights you gain about your leadership ability during your mentoring to improve your ability to lead.
Hone communication skills
Communication is essential to any mentorship. Nonetheless, each mentee you coach will react differently to your communication style. Perhaps there are even areas of the common confusion between mentees that can be clarified for future employees. As you work through the mentorship process, this goal will help you to remember to continually find new ways to simplify and improve your communication skills.
Expand your network
Any mentee you encounter, and coach will be a new connection in your professional network. Your mentees also have several connections in their own network which will open you up to an even wider web of professionals and potential mentees/employees. Think of every conversation as a networking opportunity.
Advance your career
Mentorship does not only benefit the careers of the mentees. By taking this initiative, you are establishing yourself as an authority in your workplace and profession. Be sure to leverage your newfound connections and mention your time as mentor when looking to advance your own career.
Understand new perspectives
As previously mentioned, mentoring provides you with the chance to encounter new perspectives. It is easy to develop tunnel vision after spending a lot of time in one industry or occupation. Welcoming these new perspectives help you to stay up-to-date and innovative while also just being a fantastic learning opportunity!
Ask better questions
Questions often form the backbone of your mentorship experience. Be sure to use your questions to lead your mentee to discover their leadership goals and internal tendencies instead of asking icebreaker-style questions. You can discover, and unravel, a lot about a person by asking a precise and intentional question.
Give helpful, actionable feedback
One of the major pitfalls for any leader is providing convoluted feedback that leaves the recipient unsure and unmotivated. The feedback you provide should spur your mentee to action. Challenge yourself to define the problem and provide direction that the employee can immediately take action on to reach a solution.
Unearth opportunities for collaboration
Just because you are the authority in your mentorship relationship does not mean that they have little to offer you in return. Mentees, in addition to their differing viewpoints, can actually make good collaborators as you both come to understand one another better. Be on the lookout for any opportunities that arise to partner on a project or committee.
This should immediately be a goal for any initiative you undertake. When you invest your (or your company’s) time and resources into a project, you should justify that investment by demonstrating the value of your return. If you’re running a large scale mentoring program, the easiest way to do this is to create a mentorship program survey which you can use to demonstrate the results of your commitment to your mentee. If you’re an individual mentor, set aside time at the end of each session to ask for feedback. Alternatively, send an email after your session when they’ve had time to reflect on the conversation.
Develop a template for future mentorship opportunities
After completing your mentorship, you should debrief and use the results of your mentorship survey to determine what worked and what didn’t. From there, you can begin to assemble a template for future mentoring partnerships.
This could eventually be a resource you present to senior management to demonstrate the value of a mentoring program or your own status as an authority figure in your field/workplace.
Mentorship programs are becoming an increasingly effective driver for employee engagement, retention, and advancements. Of course, these benefits would not be available without the generous provision of time and wisdom from mentors.
Whether you are just beginning your journey as a mentor or are a seasoned pro, ensuring you have inspiring mentor goals for yourself is key to both your and your mentee’s success.
Additionally, if you are looking to take your mentorship program to the next level, Together’s mentorship platform is the answer. Over 150 businesses have launched world-class mentoring programs through our platform, increasing retention and engagement rates among their employees.
Contact us for a free demo to learn more about Together’s mentorship platform.