Mentoring is a relationship entailing formal or informal processes whereby a mentor provides intentional guidance, motivation, and encouragement. Mentors also share knowledge, experiences, and perspectives to empower the mentee in the advancement of specific goals that improve their lives and careers. Mentorship allows both mentor and mentee to build networks of resources, develop best practices, and sustina connections for lifelong learning.
Goal-setting is one of the most important elements in a mentoring relationship, regardless if the relationship is formal between faculty and student, or more informal in a peer-to-peer relationship. Goals can be simple or complex, but are always driven by the desired objectives of the mentoring relationship. Goals may be personal, academic, professional, or a combination of these. Reassess goals periodically, as they sometimes change priority or scope.
Download the PDF: Goal Setting
Make goals concrete and action-oriented. Be clear, concise and use action verbs such as develop, improve, create (e.g. "I will increase my understanding of...")
Make sure you can measure when a goal is achieved. Have a plan for tracking progress and defining success.
Create goals that require work, but are attainable within the scope of the mentoring framework and timeline.
Create goals that are plausible and fall within your skillsets.
Set both long-term goals and shorter-term goals. Identify specific timelines for these, like "By the end of the semester, I will have...," or "At the end of the year, we will have..."
Create mentoring goals based on the focus (or focuses) of the mentorship:
- Goals in proficiency-based mentorships often focus on skill attainment or performance.
- Goals in affinity-based mentorships often focus on knowledge acquisition or acculturation.
- Goals in identity-based mentorships often focus on resiliency or development of cultural and interpersonal competencies.