Arguably, one of the most common objectives set by apprentices is to build trust. This long-term goal is something that mentoring programs already aspire to achieve, but keeping it in mind can lead to a particularly productive partnership. We have found that our trainees tend to focus on areas such as executive presence, authentic self-promotion, personal branding, managing complex and matrixed organizations, global leadership and change management. Because you “know better”, it can be tempting to take the wheel while your apprentice is driving a shotgun.
This is not how your relationship should work. Your job as a mentor is to help an apprentice learn their role, not to do it for them. Before you can establish a relationship with a mentor, you need to know what you want to get out of it. Are you interested in developing your management skills, or are you more focused on identifying a career path that you can follow for the next three to five years? Your answer will determine what type of mentoring you need and will help you get an idea of the type of person who can help you achieve those goals.
Like any other, mentoring relationships require work. You'll get the best results right from the start if you set specific goals, develop a plan and have the right details. Follow this to-do list for your first meeting with your mentor. With the help of a mentor, the mentee can deepen these goals and discuss ways to develop these skills by setting smaller, short-term goals.
For example, a mentee may want to be more involved in their work by talking about their goals and aspirations with a mentor. Learning from each month's topic is a valuable way for learners to support their broader, long-term goals. Another long-term goal that apprentices should set is to position themselves to expand opportunities within their company. Maybe you need someone who can help you carry out a project, introduce you to people of a certain level within a specific industry, or guide you through a difficult negotiation.
HR professionals or people leaders can also quickly set and manage the objectives of their mentoring program using Together's free mentoring platform. For example, if you work as an account executive in a sales team and your goal is to become a relationship manager, a current relationship manager or account manager could be a great mentor. While it may seem a little exaggerated, it will help give you and your mentor more clarity by helping to share the purpose of the relationship. I was thinking of preparing a simple document that would share my objectives with you, my commitment to you and the milestones that I hope to achieve in the next three months.
Wendy Axelrod, author of 10 Steps to Successful Mentoring, emphasizes the importance of setting clear goals for the mentoring program. Most people in the business world start at the bottom and work their way up, but they don't usually do it alone. Having a mentor at work can be a wonderful way to advance your career while learning new skills and refining your professional goals. This can be a great short-term goal to set and achieve in regular mentoring conversations, especially since it can support other objectives such as developing confidence and leadership skills or positioning yourself for more opportunities in the workplace.
Before working with a business mentor, it's important to have specific goals in mind so that both parties can get the most out of their partnership. Setting clear objectives will help ensure that both parties are on the same page and that progress is made towards achieving those goals. It's also important for mentors and mentees alike to understand what they want out of the relationship so that they can make sure they are getting what they need from it. When setting goals with your mentor, consider both short-term and long-term objectives.
Short-term goals could include developing communication skills or learning how to navigate complex organizational structures while long-term goals could include building trust or positioning yourself for more opportunities within your company. By having specific goals in mind before working with a business mentor, both parties will be able to get the most out of their partnership and ensure that progress is made towards achieving those goals.