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Achieving Your Mentoring Goals…the HARD way

“People are not lazy.
They simply have impotent goals – that is, goals that do not inspire them.”
(Tony Robbins)

The word “goals” is thrown around in so many different ways. We set goals to accomplish things in our personal and professional lives. We continue to set goals to achieve the mundane and uninspired outcomes, only to celebrate seemingly mediocre results.

We’re not doing it quite right

We are all familiar with SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely. It’s a great way to add structure to the goal setting process. But this process is very restrictive and teaches us to be conservative about setting our goals. And let’s be honest, this method doesn’t get us excited and doesn’t really align us with real success. SMART is a process that helps us to achieve things, but not GREAT things. If our goals are something that we are going to do anyway, then they are not really goals.

Goals for mentoring

Anyone who has participated in a mentoring program knows how important it is for the mentor to help the mentee establish goals. Later this spring, we will be discussing this topic with our Graduate Mentoring Program, at our HRPA chapter launch event. We will align goal setting with their career, job search, landing their first HR role and building their professional network.

But we’re taking a slightly different approach. We’re taking a look at the HARD approach, a creation of Mark Murphy, Leadership IQ consultancy.

H – Heartfelt
A – Animated
R – Required
D – Difficult


No matter how evolved we think we are, we are ruled by our emotions. The more emotionally attached we are to our goals, the higher the likelihood that we’ll achieve them. The goal should be bigger than ourselves and will enrich others lives, not just my own.


You won’t be surprised to learn that “vision” is the driver behind achieving your goals. Your brain can’t tell the difference between reality and imagination. The more you replay the “movie” of your vision, the closer you will get to achieve your goal.


The more urgency you have around what you’re working toward, the more likely you are to get it. Maybe obsessive is too strong a word – maybe not.


There’s a reason we say that necessity is the mother of invention. The greatest achievements come from tough challenges, so don’t shy away from goals that seem out of reach. Leave your comfort zone to achieve your goals, and you will learn volumes along the way.

Our goals need to be inspiring; they need to motivate us to achieve great things. They have to be absolutely necessary and aligned with our priorities. Our goals should be so vivid that we can actually feel how great it will be to achieve them.
About the author

Tim Baker, CHRL is an HR Consultant, Editor of Learning at The HR Gazette, Mentoring Program & Social Media Committee with the HRPA, Blogger, & soon to be Speaker.

Reinventing Mentoring

Mentoring has been around since ancient Grecian times, when Odysseus placed his friend Mentor in charge of his son when he went off to war. In today’s world, I see mentoring changing, adapting to different needs and to the demographics and larger changes happening in the world. I also see new avenues for finding and conducting mentoring.

There are several factors at play that are causing these changes. Here are a few that I see as catalysts.

The need for connection to your “tribe”

I spend a lot of time with people I call “Internal Disruptors”. They are leaders at all levels within organizations who want to stay ahead of the curve, on the cutting edge of HR and culture. They want to do things differently and need others to discuss innovative ideas with. They are often missing connections with “people like them” within their organizations, so looking outside for mentoring and networking is important.

The rise of Millennials

Millennials crave feedback and most aren’t getting enough from their bosses. They’re also young, with plenty to learn – and also plenty to teach! There are great opportunities for cross-mentoring relationships with Millennials, where the mentor gets back just as much development as he or she gives.

Check out this Millennial Think Tank for some great insights on Millennials and the need for mentors today.


How rapidly the world is changing

Because of the pace of change, what you need today from a mentor may change tomorrow. You may need several different mentors whom you can call upon when new and different challenges arise. It is increasingly important that people can learn rapidly, bring new skills to the organization, and having people with a range of skills to teach you is a key method for keeping up with learning.

Technology opportunities

You no longer have to look locally for a mentor. In fact, my best mentor is someone whom I met in Thailand and lives in Australia. We speak bi-weekly, providing mentoring, accountability and advice to each other. Although she is on the other side of the world, through Skype and Google Hangouts, our relationship has become closer than many of my local relationships.

So we know the need for various mentors and mentoring relationships certainly exists. Now where does one find the mentor they need? In today’s world, there are also new places to find your mentor.

Social media

Tapping into the openness of social networks like Twitter is a great way to find people passionate and knowledgeable about the things you want to learn. It’s no secret that I meet most people through twitter, either directly or indirectly. I am a huge advocate of having conversations with people online and turning those into real life discussions. Join twitter chats, see who is blogging and tweeting about things you’re interested in, and try reaching out to them. You’d be surprised at how many great leaders on twitter are very open to sharing and having discussions with you.


I met my Australian mentor at an event called Awesomeness Fest. When you’re at an event, you often meet people you may otherwise not have had an opportunity to, and you already know you have something in common – the reason that brought you both to this event. Take advantage of that. If you need help stepping out of your shell and connecting at conferences or events, check out this post about how I stopped sucking at networking. And if you’re looking for an event to meet Internal Disruptors at, you definitely should apply to attend the ReInvent Work Summit (sorry for the shameless plug – the people who attend are simply awesome!)

Non-traditional mentoring

If you haven’t seen it yet, check out Ten Thousand Coffees. This is an amazing initiative that is connecting professionals with the next generation of leader. You can search by industry, offering and meeting type. If you’re a young leader, embarking on your career and looking for advice, you can meet leaders in a variety of areas. If you’re a professional, join so that you can mentor and learn from millennials. Another form of non-traditional mentoring but a source of great advice is Virgin’s Mentor Mondays, where leaders share their advice on various topics.

How do you see the need for mentoring changing? Where have you found great mentors?


“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”

To quote Benjamin Franklin, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn”, couldn’t be more correct when it comes to finding a mentor.

I truly believe it is critical in today’s business world to find yourself one or two mentors to help you grow both professionally and personally. Finding a mentor in your career field/industry is very important in that it can give you guidance from someone who has already “been there, done that”. Someone who has gone through the challenges and struggles, learned from mistakes, put in the work and has risen above the obstacles. It is especially critical as a young business professional to find a good mentor in your field. As a young business professional just starting out your career, for the most part you are a blank slate – full of questions and concerns. Finding a mentor in your field will help drive you, provide clarity, answer questions and increase your confidence.

I also think it is important to find a mentor outside of your career field/industry. Someone who is knowledgeable and professional, who can push you outside of your comfort zone. Find someone who you admire professionally, someone that you can learn from, someone to push you, question you and that will help you grow to where you aspire to be as a person.

Find a mentor who has the time for you and you genuinely wants to help you succeed. Having lunch with a mentor once every six months doesn’t work. Make it a routine meeting every couple of weeks and come prepared. Have questions, scenarios, concerns and plans ready to go that you can discuss and take notes. Take lots of notes! Once you have finished your meeting with your mentor, take time to reflect on your conversation and put into place an action plan with target dates of goal completion. Hold yourself accountable for meeting these goals.

A mentor should not just tell you what to do, they should involve you in the process. Being a part of the process is the only way moving forward will be successful. Understand that not everything will work the first time around and you will need to make adjustments based on what you feel comfortable with and what works for you. That is what your mentor is there for. To help you when you have to take two steps back to move forward again.

Find right mentor that will help push and guide you… you may surprise yourself on how far you can go.

Jennifer Charron is a Recruitment Partner at Lucas Professional Search Group.