Mentoring: It is all about Relationships & Goals

News Date: 
June 5, 2016

This article is a continuation of our previous publication, so in case you missed it, please read that one first, before reading this one:

Now that you have a good grip on the 'why' aspect of mentoring, it is time to focus on the 'what' and the 'how'. 

Having a great mentoring experience depends on the following two aspects:  Relationships & Goals. 


As with every relationship in people's lives, both personal and professional, you need to find a 'fit', sometimes also referred to as 'personal chemistry'. 

What it means is that you are looking for people who have similar personality characteristics, goals, interests or aspirations as you have in order to form a relationship built on a common ground. What these characteristics are obviously depend on each individual.

When looking for a suitable mentor, a good way to find out for yourself is to look for people who have similar interests or have walked your anticipated path before. That is, if you are looking for the right mentor who can guide you and support you in reaching your goals.

If you are a mentor, looking for a mentee, the same principle applies but in this instance, you are looking for people who can help you grow as a mentor and provide you with new, fresh & exhilarating ideas on how to become an even better YOU.

The Open Mentoring Network provides the opportunity to search on various key words to help you find the right mentor or mentee. Over time, it will be possible to provide cross-reference search capabilities to make it even easier for you to find the right match. However, in order to provide this capability, we need a large number of users and associated data points so we are hoping to motivate as many people as possible to register themselves on our network and enjoy their own mentoring experience. 


We have created a video series covering each of the elements outlined below. If you would like to watch these videos, rather than reading through the text below, you can click here for the SMART methodology and here for the Agile / SOCIO methodology. 

There are a number of different ways in which you can set great and challenging mentoring goals for yourself. The way which has always been very effective for me has been the SMART way of setting goals. 

I have personally moved beyond this method and I now use a combination approach between SMART and Agile, which ensures that reaching my goals has a positive and lasting effect on who I want to be and what I want to stand for. 

If you are already familiar with how to set SMART goals for yourself, please skip ahead to the Agile part of this article (outined below). If not, here is what it stands for and how you can use it when setting your goals. 

SMART is an abbreviation and it stands for:

  • Specific: ensure the goals you set for yourself are specific and action-oriented. 
  • Measurable: they need to be measurable by you and others
  • Achievable: do not overdo it. Set challenging goals but ensure that you are able to achieve them within a reasonable timeframe.
  • Relevant: they need to be relevant for what you are trying to achieve
  • Timely: set realistic timeframes to reach the different goals. Bear in mind the challenges you might face on the way. 

Example on how to create a SMART Goal: 

"Broad Goal: I want to start a business.

  • Specific: I will sell handmade cards through
  • Measurable: I will be ready to take my first Etsy order within four weeks, and I will aim to sell a minimum of five cards per week.
  • Attainable: I will get set up on Etsy first. Then, I will build an inventory of 30 handmade cards to sell. Finally, I will promote my business and build customer relationships through word of mouth, referrals and local networking.
  • Relevant: Selling handmade cards will allow me to benefit financially from my favorite hobby.
  • Time-Based: My Etsy store will be up and running within four weeks, and I will have an inventory of 30 cards to sell within six weeks.

SMART Goal: Within a month, I am going to get set up to sell handmade cards on Etsy, which will allow me to benefit financially from my favorite hobby. Within six weeks, I will have an inventory of 30 handmade cards to sell and aim to sell a minimum of five cards per week, building customer relationships through word of mouth, referrals and local networking."

Your initial mentoring goals might be quite broad, so it is up to you to try to convert them into SMART goals as it will make your mentoring experience a lot more effective and enjoyable.  Need help? Let us know and we will be more than happy to support you.


I personally use a more agile approach, in addition to the SMART methodology and I describe this to my clients as following the SOCIO path to goal setting (no pun intended...)

SOCIO is also an abbreviation which stands for:

  • Situation
  • Outcome
  • Challenges
  • Impact
  • Opportunities

Before you create your own Mentoring goals, take a moment to reflect on your current Situation in order to have a clear understanding of what it is that you would like to achieve, how quickly you would like to achieve this and the key elements which are surrounding your current reality / situation at the moment of creating your high-impact performance / mentoring goals. 

Visualising the Outcome of what you are trying to achieve will make the difference between reaching this goals and not reaching it. If you are able to visualise the successful completion of the goal you are setting for yourself, even before you have started working on this goal, you are much more likely to achieve it. You will find the right level of motivation and resourcefulness in order to ensure that you can reach the outcome you have visualised for yourself during this stage of the goal setting sequence.

Once you have taken considerable time on visualising the outcome, it is now time to move on to challenges that are currently dealing with or will likely be dealing with over the next 6 months. Ask yourself how these challenges are affecting you, write them down and think about the impact that these challenges have on your overall wellbeing and your professional performance. Which of these challenges would be important for you to address so that you can overcome these challenges going forward?

What would be the Impact that you reaching your goal will have on yourself, your colleagues, your family, etc.? Again, try to visualise this impact as it will help drive you forward to taking massive and immediate action on realising your goals. 

Last but not least, think about the Opportunities you have in your natural work environment to achieve your goals or at least make massive progress on reaching your goals. Depending on the goal you have set for yourself, these opportunities will be very different.

E.g. if your goal is to become a better public speaker, try to find opportunities in your natural environment to practice the required skills which will help you reach your ultimate goal. Try to find opportunities in a comfortable environment first, which will help you grow your confidence to take the next steps on your journey to realising your goal.  

Now go and develop your own high-impact mentoring goals and remember to enjoy your experience!

If you have not done so already, feel free to register yourself on our network to enjoy your own mentoring experience:

Anyone else who you know that might benefit from the information included in this article or from a mentoring experience, either as a mentor or as a mentee? Feel free to share this publication with as many people as you see fit. 

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