Eight Tips for Setting Goals with Your Mentee

Research shows that a mentoring relationship with structure has a better chance of being successful; setting goals together as a match is one great way to build structure. Here are some key tips that can be helpful in the process of setting goals.

Write down goals.
Writing down goals serves two purposes: it helps you remember your goals over long periods of time. And it makes the goals feel more “real” and solid, making them harder to ignore.

Reward success.
We all need motivation, and youth tend to require more tangible positive reinforcement than adults do. In order to help keep your mentee motivated towards reaching their goals, provide them with small rewards for accomplishing each step along the way.

Welcome failure.
Sometimes we don’t reach the goals we set for ourselves, and the same will be true of your mentee. Don’t brush failure under the rug and ignore it; address it, and turn it into a learning experience for your mentee.

Inspect and reevaluate constantly.
You don’t need to wait until your anniversary Match Meeting to evaluate your mentee’s progress towards their goal. Evaluate your progress constantly, and if a goal seems too unrealistic or simple, make the needed adjustments.

Create positive and motivating goals.
Your mentee will be more likely to stay motivated about their goal if it’s phrased in a positive and uplifting way. Don’t write goals that are intimidating, scary, or negative.

Identify obstacles.
When you start working on a goal with your mentee, take some time to brainstorm with them on potential roadblocks or challenges they may face. This will allow you to both plan for these potential challenges, and to find ways to avoid getting stuck by them. If your mentee hits an unexpected issue, talk through it with them and help them make an action plan.

Make goals accessible.
It’s easy to forget about a goal if we don’t have a constant reminder about it. Unleash your creativity, and help your mentee find ways to keep their goal close at hand. This could be as simple as creating a sign to hang in their bedroom, sticky notes to place on their binders, or a little note they can carry in their pocket.

Be creative and have fun!
Make goal setting a fun experience! Turn goals into a game. Make it a competition. Create a map to help chart your mentee’s progress towards their goal. There are a number of creative ways to make goal setting a fun experience for your mentee, so be creative and keep them engaged

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