Having a mentor who is going to guide you along your professional journey is important. A mentor is someone you can look up to. It is a person who guides you and helps you in making well informed decisions.
All young up and coming leaders on various levels in the workplace need mentorship. If you talk to any great leaders and thriving individuals, you will learn that behind their journey towards triumph stands a mentor, or even a few mentors who helped them get there.
Many successful people have been mentees before recognizing success; Bill Campbell mentored Steve Jobs, and in turn, Steve Jobs guided Mark Zuckerberg. Warren Buffet was the mentor of Bill Gates. This just goes to show that no matter how high on the ladder you are, you’re never too successful to have a mentor.
Realizing the importance of having a mentor and finding one, is the first step of the journey. However, how successful the relationship is going to be depends heavily on the goals you will set up as a mentee.
It’s important to keep in mind that the goals set aren’t set in stone, and can shift depending on your aspirations, changing environment and insights you may have. However, setting up goals serves a reference, and is the base the mentorship engagement will grow onto.
How can I set up mentorship goals?
Setting up your mentorship goals isn’t easy, and requires introspection. However, having a guide to accomplish your goal is very important. That is going to serve as your reality check, as a base you will be able to check the progress against your goal.
Below you can find a 6-step guide on setting up your goals. Setting those up can take some time, and therefore you make sure you are committed to finishing that journey. If you’re not dedicated to doing so, you may need to reassess the timing of your mentorship engagement. Your mentor is there to guide through the goals you set, and this input is valuable for them to successfully help you achieve.
1. Clarify what you want to achieve
Identify the professional stage you’re at and the goal you want to achieve. Be specific and make sure it’s something you really want. To make it happen, you need to be dedicated and committed. Think about your goals and confirm if you’re willing to sacrifice the time and effort to achieve them.
Break down your goals into smaller and manageable sub-goals. By breaking them down, you will be able to work incrementally toward your goal, will make your list less intimidating, and will give you more motivation to succeed and keep on pushing.
Think SMART! Create specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely goals which will allow you measure your success and ensure you’re on the right track toward your bigger goal.
And write them down! This is probably one of the most important and frequently ignored step to effective goal setting. Writing your goals and reviewing them frequently, will give your mind subconscious cues that your goals are important. As a result, you’ll push more and that extra effort will help you succeed.
2. Make sure your goals align with reality
It’s good to think big, however reality can stand in the way when pursuing them. To make a reality check and understand if your goals are sustainable, ask yourself the following questions:
· Do I have the time and resources available to meet this goal? What do I need to change?
· Am I fully dedicated to achieving this goal?
· Am I aware of the sacrifices this goal will require? Am I willing to make those?
Answer those questions honestly. That will give you clarity on the way to move ahead. If you need to adjust your goals based on the answers to those questions, do so. Don’t panic, it’s normal.
3. Determine your benchmarks for success
After setting up your goals, it’s important to define what success would look like to you. Think about the specific items that would indicate that.
4. Set a realistic timeframe
Life can get in a way, and therefore, it’s important to ensure the timelines you set for achieving your goals is realistic. Don’t be strict on yourself.
5. Define strategies and map out the path to success
All previous steps have allowed you set up your target and deadline. Now it’s time to work with your mentor and define the actionable steps that will help you reach your goal. This is an area where your mentor’s advice will be invaluable, as they may have ideas you hadn’t considered before.
6. Track your progress frequently
Once you’ve put your plan in place, make sure you track your progress using the benchmarks you established with your mentor. This will keep you on the path toward achieving your goals.
It is important to review your goals at least weekly. Write down your successes and things you could have done better. Be honest with yourself, but not critical. Think about the 3 things you have done recently, which have helped you in one area, or identify the things you could do soon and will bring you one step closer to your goals. It is important to write those down too and revisiting those frequently; by doing so, you will get the right motivation to keep on working toward your goals.
Going back and reflecting on the actions you took to meet your goals will help you understand if you’re on the right track.
Keep in mind that your goals may change during the mentorship relationship. New insights or discussions may result in a shift. If changes need to be made, then go ahead! It’s normal and expected!
The Product Lab offers a free mentorship program for the product community. Sign up, set up your goals and take your product career to the next level! For more information you can visit The Product Lab's website or drop an email at firstname.lastname@example.org