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Setting SMART Goals

This will help the mentor and mentee set goals for duration of the mentoring relationship.

Utilizing SMART Goals may assist you develop attainable goals during the mentoring process.

SMART is an acronym that is used as a foundation for setting goals:

S – Specific, significant, stretching
M – Measurable, meaningful, motivational
A – Agreed upon, attainable, achievable, acceptable, action-oriented
R – Realistic, relevant, reasonable, rewarding, results-oriented
T – Time-based, timely, tangible, trackable

  • Specific and significant
  • Well defined
  • Clear to anyone that has a basic knowledge of the situation

A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal.  To set a specific goal you must answer the six ‘W’ questions:

Who:    Who is involved?
What:   What do I want to accomplish?
Where:  Identify a location.
When:   Establish a time frame.
Which:  Identify requirements and constraints
Why:    Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.

EXAMPLE: A general goal would be “Learn how to access a PICC line” but a specific goal would say, “Patient X has a PICC line, with my mentors help I will learn how to access this line following hospital policy and procedure”.

  • Meaning and motivational
  • Know if the goal is obtainable and how far away completion is
  • Know when it has been achieved

Establish concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of each goal you set.  When you measure your progress, you stay on track, reach your target dates, and feel positive about what you have achieved.

To determine if your goal is measurable; ask questions such as, How much? How many? How will I know when it is accomplished?

Agreed Upon:
  • Attainable, achievable, acceptable and action-oriented
  • Agreement between the mentor and the mentee of what the goals should be

When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true.  You develop the attitudes, abilities, and skills to reach them.  You begin seeing previously overlooked opportunities to bring yourself closer to the achievement of our goals.

You can attain goals you set when you plan how you will achieve them and establish a time frame that allows you to carry out those steps.  Goals that may have seemed far away and out of reach eventually move closer and become attainable.

  • Relevant, reasonable, rewarding and results-oriented
  • Within the availability of resources, knowledge and time

To be realistic, a goal must represent an objective toward which mentor and mentee are willing and able to work.  A goal can be both high and realistic; you are the only one who can decide just how high your goal should be.  A high goal is frequently easier to reach than a low one because a low goal exerts low motivational force.  Your goal is probably realistic if you truly believe that it can be accomplished.

EXAMPLE:  Even if I do accept responsibility to pursue a goal that is specific and measurable, the goal won’t be useful to me or others if the goal is to “know how to work the desk during my first week”.

Time Based:
  • Timely, tangible and trackable
  • Enough time to achieve the goal

A goal should be grounded within a time frame.  With no time frame tied to it, there’s no sense of urgency.

EXAMPLE:  I want to learn to use the intravenous infusion pump on my unit. When do you want to have this skill mastered?  “Someday” won’t work.  But if you anchor it within a timeframe, 1 week, 2 weeks, set a specific date, and then you’ve set your unconscious mind into motion to being working on the goal. 14

Identify how you learn:
Knowledge of how one learns best will assist the mentor and mentee decide on strategies for learning.

Complete VARK (Visual, Aural, Reading/Writing, Kinesthetic) questionnaire on line and identify how one learns best.

Take this information to the first mentorship meeting as mentor and mentee embark on their mentoring journey.

Please complete:  How Good a Listener Are You?  This tool assesses one’s ability to listen to others.  If you identify that your listening skills require attention, it may encourage you to work on this ability.

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