For mentoring to work, both partners have to share a focus or focus areas.
In professional mentoring, these are usually specific core competencies such as:
- supervisory skills
- financial acumen
This ensures that mentoring will have a clear purpose and will be tied to business objectives relevant for the company.
But what makes mentoring different from coaching is that there is also a second set of goals that are personal. These are things like:
- increased self-confidence
- perception by others
- long term career goals
So although it's important to attach professional goals and objectives to a mentoring program, it's in the personal area that mentoring gets its power. By establishing a trusting relationship which is not evaluated from a performance system perspective, the mentoree can share the main issues that affect their success which are usually personal rather than competency-based.
If you conduct an evaluation survey at the end of your program and ask mentorees and mentors how they grew personally, you will be amazed at what you will read.