We have all spent a session (or many) with our mentee considering their personal and professional goals, and found ourselves worried that these goals aren’t attainable or healthy. It can be harmful and wrong to support our mentees in goals that are not in their best interest or are interfering with a more important objective, but it can be difficult to recognise that the goals are harmful in the early stages of goal-setting. You can support your mentee from the beginning by setting goals that are relevant, measurable and achievable.
For example, let’s say your mentee has been focusing on the goal of weight loss. He wants to lose 18k (40 lbs) this year, but is struggling to make this happen. What can you as a mentor do to support his goal?
Is it relevant?
Begin by checking that your mentee’s goal is relevant to their overall goals. This can be the most nuanced and difficult to see, because often a person’s goals are subconsciously related to a different issue than they suppose. In this example, the goal of weight loss could come from a deeper issue of self-image, or connected to a deeper issue of depression or a lack of work/life balance. As a mentor, you can help your mentee to explore the deeper roots of the objective and what is stopping them from achieving it. This might change the relevancy of their goals. In this example, perhaps you and your mentee might realise that it would be more relevant to their goal to focus on mental and emotional health before weight loss.
Is it measurable?
This particular example of losing 18k in a year had very clear and straightforward measurement of success. However, once explored on a deeper level, and your mentee recognises that the goal is mental and emotional as much as physical, there needs to be a conversation about what mental and emotional health looks like and how it can be measured. Perhaps you and your mentee decide to refer to the buoyancy gauge as a measurement (https://vervelead.com/buoyancy/).
Is it achievable?
While setting goals, there is a big difference between dreaming big and setting your mentee up for failure. Lofty goals can be a sign of a positive mindset, self-confidence and healthy hope for the future, but if these goals are not achievable, it is likely your mentee will give up before they see any transformation in their life. In our example, the mentee’s goal is a big goal; 18k is a lot of weight to lose. As a mentor, you can help them to confront what it might look like if they do not achieve this, or find a different gauge to measure success.
From here, you and your mentor can create an action plan that will allow them to achieve this new goal, in this case, building up mental and emotional resilience and buoyancy, which will then allow for your mentee to have the kind of mindset to take action towards better physical health.
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