Goal Setting

When you create mentoring goals and needs with your young staff, it’s important that you remember the following tips:


Choose goals and needs that are important to your employee

The more important the goal is to them, the more likely they are to reach that goal. For example, goals that are extrinsic (‘you must do this’) or set because someone ‘thinks they should’ are far less likely to be reached than goals that are set because of intrinsic reasons (‘I really want to’). Check how important the goals you’ve set are by asking, ‘why is this important to you?’


Make goals SMART

Once you’ve identified the goal, the next step is to write it down. We write goals down using the SMART principle. This turns fuzzy goals into something specific, measureable, authentic, realistic and time framed. For example, get your employee to identify the following:

  • Specific – make the goal specific; that is capture exactly what it is they will be working towards
  • Measureable – identify how you will measure the goal and the attainment of it
  • Authentic – make sure the goal is motivating and authentic for them
  • Realistic – ensure the goal that you’ve set is realistic to achieve; goals should be stretching not straining
  • Timely – set a date as to when they need to complete the goal


Assess motivation level and revisit goal

Once you have written down the goals as SMART, revisit how motivating the goal is now to your employee. A good way of doing this is asking ‘on a scale of 0-5, how motivated are you to achieve this goal?’ And ‘what would be the most motivating goal you could set?’ Then make changes to the SMART goal as necessary.


Be positive

Many young employees have never set goals before, so this goal-setting exercise can be daunting. Make sure that you frame the whole exercise as an opportunity for them to improve themselves and their working life. You can do this by:

  • Being positive in your delivery
  • Being open and encouraging
  • Supporting any ideas that the employee comes up with
  • Making sure the goal is achievable


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