Nurturing Success in a Mentoring Relationship

In short, a vision is the big picture of the future that will motivate and inspire someone to keep moving forward. A mentee should ask, “What do I want my future to look like?” Then mentors should help their mentee develop a big picture of the future that is compelling and that makes clear the direction in which they need to move.

Once a mentee has a vision for the future, mentors can help them take a step toward making it reality by setting some initial goals that are realistic, specific and measurable. Goals create pathways for success. Developing and achieving goals provide us with a sense of purpose, help us to determine priorities, encourage us to stay focused on the present, and create benchmarks of progress. A few important principles to remember as you help your mentee to set goals:

  • The mentee needs to take the lead in developing the goal. Mentors do not want to do all the work because when someone is responsible for creating a goal, it will resonate with them more deeply. They will feel more of an emotional connection and ownership over the goal, and be more driven to achieve it.
  • The mentee needs to take the lead in determining the steps to reach the goal. Again, the more they are involved in the creation of the steps to reach the goal, they more invested they are in completing them. However, there are some big questions mentors can help their mentee to reflect on: Where am I right now? What is my story? What do I want to work on? What matters most to me? Where am I headed? How could things be different? What do I hope life will be like in five years? What is my vision for my future? How do I get there? What are some specific steps I can take to reach my goals?
  • Mentees should set only a few goals at a time. Focus on developing and reaching a few well thought out goals. Mentors are helping their mentee to develop a discipline that can be practiced over and over again.
  • What does success look like? Coach John Wooden led the UCLA basketball team for 27 seasons. In that time the Bruins won a record 10 national championships (including 7 in a row). Four times they were undefeated during an entire season and at one point they won a record 88 consecutive games. John Wooden new something about success. However, he did not equate success with winning basketball games. He often thought his team had failed when they won the game and had succeeded when they lost the game. How did John Wooden define success? “Success is peace of mind that is the direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”

The mentors at PACT are a group of diverse volunteers dedicated to helping the young people of Saginaw County achieve individual success. PACT creates positive change by contracting with government agencies, faith-based and community organizations to develop, launch and manage programs, projects and initiatives that nurture trusting and purposeful relationships in a community. For more information, contact coordinator Terry Kuhns at 810-488-0914 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .