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Setting goals for your mentoring

What are goals and why do you need them?

Your goals are the things you want to have achieved at the end of your mentoring project. This isn’t so you can tell if you have been successful or not: it’s to give you something to aim for, help you to get the most out of having a mentor, and make it easier to tell what you have achieved and what to do next.

There are lots of different things that you could get out of mentoring, and only a limited amount of time, so setting goals at the start will make sure you are tackling the things that are most important to you.

Choosing your goals

It’s important to pick your goals carefully: they are what will guide you through your mentoring journey, so if you don’t put enough thought into them you may start off in the wrong direction.

You’ll need to consider:

  • Where you are now: you need to know what your starting point is so that you can make your goals achievable.

  • How long you have: your goal should be something you can achieve in the time you have on the mentoring project.

  • What you’ll do next: your goal should be something you can build on after the mentoring project.

  • What your mentor can help you with: basing your goals on the things your mentor can most easily help you with will ensure you get the most out of mentoring.

  • What is important to you: ultimately, the point of setting goals is to get you where you want to go, so think about the things that matter to you in life and what you want to do in the future.

Make sure you revisit your goals regularly to make sure they are still right for you.

Your mentor can help you with setting and reviewing your goals, whether you have no idea where to start or you just need help putting them into words.

Find out more about setting good goals and making them stick.

Setting objectives

Once you have worked out what your goals are, it’s useful to break them down into objectives. These are the smaller steps that will get you to your goal.

For example, if your goal was to apply to university, your objectives might include:

  • Write your personal statement

  • Research courses and universities

  • Decide what matters to you about a university

  • Explore careers that you might be interested in

Breaking your goals down makes it easier to know what to do next and keep track of your progress. If you ever get stuck, you can look at your objectives and try to break them down further. Having clear objectives will also help your mentor to identify ways they can help you.

It can be tricky to break your goal down if you're not sure what the steps are to achieve this. Your mentor can help you with this – and working out the practical steps to reaching your goal is an achievement in itself.