What is the Real Goal of Mentoring?

real goal of mentoring

It seems like everyone is thinking about GOALS this past couple of weeks. At least anyone who . . .

  • has a pulse,
  • lives anywhere on the planet,
  • has an interest in a 69.5 centimeter circumference ball that is being kicked madly and passionately all around Brazil.

Hail the World Cup 2014!

And hail the importance of goals.

Ask Chile’s Gonzalo Jaro if goals are important. (His penalty shoot-out kick clanked off the right goal post against Brazil this week. Chile lost out.)

Ask Brazil’s Julio Cesar, the goalkeeper that willed his team to victory in that same matchup. Brazil walked away with the win and advanced to the next round.

Those cleated, grass-stained and determined gentleman could tell you the importance of attaining a goal.

Mentoring might not hold the wildly fanatical element embodied in the current World Cup football games, but the need to understand the goal of mentoring holds enough importance to fill a stadium.

What is the goal of mentoring?

I’ll start with what the goal of mentoring is not.

It is not being able to check the box on your annual leadership objective for “Mentoring Others.” It is not sharing your life, wins and losses, so that others are impressed with your achievements and transparency.

It is not those around you taking note of your big heart and caring instinct and the respect that goes with it.

These are peripheral benefits, ones that are appreciated; but they aren’t the main reasons we commit to helping someone else grow and develop.

So what is the goal of mentoring?

We mentor because we want to pass on life and career skills, for the betterment of the other person…to equip them to reproduce that skill or character quality in another person in the future.

We need to keep our minds set on this goal; otherwise our vision can be clouded as to why we are investing our time and energy into it. We will then be less effective or even give up.

I have a favorite story about keeping your eye on the true goal:

In 1952, young Florence Chadwick stepped into the waters of the Pacific Ocean off Catalina Island, determined to swim to the shore of mainland California. She’d already been the first woman to swim the English Channel both ways. The weather was foggy and chilly; she could hardly see the boats accompanying her. Still, she swam for fifteen hours. When she begged to be taken out of the water along the way, her mother, in a boat alongside, told her she was close and that she could make it. Finally, physically and emotionally exhausted, she stopped swimming and was pulled out. It wasn’t until she was on the boat that she discovered the shore was less than half a mile away.
At a news conference the next day she said, “All I could see was the fog…I think if I could have seen the shore, I would have made it.”¹

Can you relate to the story of Florence Chadwick? Have you ever taken your eyes off the real goal of mentoring?
Maybe you’ve done it because the boss said you needed to?
Maybe you’ve done it because it was part of your annual performance objective?
What are YOU aiming for in a mentoring relationship?
Take some time to think about your mentoring goals. Do they look anything like these?

I mentor because I want to serve others, not take credit for myself.
I mentor because I want to share essential knowledge, not keep it for myself.
I mentor because I want to develop another person’s gifts, not focus only on my own.
I mentor because I want to help someone learn to mentor another, and not let the value just stop with me.

Reflect on your mentoring goals. Grab a pen and write a 1-2 sentence thought that answers, “What is the goal of mentoring to me?”

(One last thing…the rest of story for Florence Chadwick. Two months later, Chadwick tried again but this time was different. The same thick fog set in, but she made it because she said that she kept a mental image of the shoreline in her mind while she swam.)

[1] http://www.epm.org/resources/2010/Jan/21/florence-chadwick-and-fog/

If you want to know more ways to receive creative, usable content about goals, send an email to Lori@LoriBachman.com with GOALS in the subject heading. You will receive three essential ways to equip others in setting their goals in the mentoring process.

Lori Bachman is on a mission to help businesses improve their organizational results and bottom line ROI of their mentoring programs. She is founder and CEO of The MentorShift Group, where she writes, speaks and consults on impactful mentoring.

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Lori Bachman created The MentorShift Group to equip mentors and mentees with a practical and powerful mentoring system. The system is designed to equip those who use it to, not only flourish in their own mentoring relationships, but to be able to transfer its success to others as well.