Your Mentoring Year Tip #6: Setting SMART Goals

Your Mentoring Year Tip #6: Setting SMART Goals

Last month, we offered some tips about how to set starter goals. As we noted then, the key to exploring starter goals is to get to the heart of the learning need and create specificity around your desired outcome. This month, let’s discuss how to turn starter goals into the kind of goals that help mentees achieve their mentoring objectives — we call these goals “SMART goals.”

SMART goals are goals that are: Specific, Measurable, Action-Oriented, Realistic and Time-bound.

How to create a SMART goal:

  1. Ask questions to really understand your mentee’s desired outcome. The best way to create SMART mentoring goals is through conversation. Together with your mentee, take a look at the starter goal you created. Make sure you are clear on what success looks like. Be as specific as possible, and drill down until you come up with a way to measure success. Ask: “How will we know if you achieved it?” “What will success look like?” “What will be different when you achieve this goal?”
  2. Encourage action rather than contemplation. Mentors help mentees create action-focused goals by reminding them that clarity comes from engagement, not thought. Too often we see mentees set goals that start with “I will think about” or “I will explore” or “I will learn.” SMART goals have action words and should answer the question: “What will you DO?”
  3. Provide a reality check. SMART goals are realistic. Help your mentees set realistic milestones that link to a larger goal. That will keep them motivated and create enthusiasm for further progress. Ask “What are the obstacles to your success?” and “On a scale of 1 to 10, how confident are you that you can overcome those obstacles?” For anything less than an 8, work with your mentee to identify and anticipate obstacles. If obstacles can be overcome, create learning around that. If they cannot, create a more realistic goal.
  4. Set a deadline. Too often, development goals languish because they feel important but not urgent. Having time-bound goals helps measure progress, create a sense of urgency, generate momentum and provide natural check-in points along the way. Set a date by which the goal should be achieved, and continually track progress towards that date. It’s perfectly appropriate — even, at times, encouraged — for a mentee to choose a lofty goal that will really propel them forward. But unless that goal is broken down into smaller steps, your mentee may get fatigued or burned out. Set timelines for milestones along the way.

How have you used SMART goals in your mentoring relationship?

Being SMART about SMART Goals

Mentoring relationships are innately goal-centered partnerships. They are indispensable to the work of mentoring. Goals focus the work of mentoring, enable mentee growth and development, and, ultimately, determine the success of the relationship.  Setting SMART —...
Top Ten Reasons to Buy The Mentor’s Guide, Third Edition

Top Ten Reasons to Buy The Mentor’s Guide, Third Edition

Major Changes to the 3rd Edition

Major Changes to the Third Edition

Since the first edition appeared in 2000, interest in and knowledge about adult learning and development has grown exponentially. We now recognize that adult learning is more than a cognitive process; it is a multidimensional phenomenon. The uniqueness of the adult learner has been accentuated over the last decade as we continue to learn about more the complexities of the brain, multiple types of intelligence, and our emotional selves. All of this has meant fundamental changes for mentoring, and for this guide. Among the major changes:

  1. A full two chapters are now devoted to the importance of context and connecting in mentoring, including an exploration of the context of difference and the context of how people come together to connect with one another in the relationship.
  2. Conversation between mentors and mentees are drawn from actual mentoring experiences in a variety of situations, including business, government, nonprofit, and higher education, and reflect the diversity of the global workplace.
  3. There is more discussion and emphasis on mentoring relationships embedded in  context including a consideration of the context of other differences—sexual orientation, gender, and race—in the mentoring relationship, with many examples 
  4. The chapter on the context of connection has been expanded to include physical, virtual, and personal context, with special attention to how virtual mentoring connections  offer new ways to create and enhance positive mentoring relationships.
  5. The section on mentoring matches addresses seeking, selecting and evaluating a potential mentoring relationship.
  6. Additional examples have been included along with an enhanced mentor skills list and updated approaches for starting your mentoring relationship.
  7. The goal setting process has been expanded from SMART goals to SMARTer goals, adding to the specificity and measurability of the process.
  8. There is an enhanced conversation guide to help mentors evaluate mentee learning goals, full consideration of emotional triggers that impact mentoring and guidance for co-creating your mentoring partnership 
  9.  Includes more emphasis on trust, including the dynamics of self-trust and interpersonal trust
  10.  Includes updated and enhanced content on feedback including how to get back on track when stumbling blocks get in the way. Explores the dynamics of the feedback process with many more examples and a feedback checklist for mentors.

Dealing With Impostor Syndrome When You’re Treated as an Impostor

By The New York Times Kristin Wong June 12, 2018

Impostor syndrome is not a unique feeling, but some researchers believe it hits minority groups harder.

Last May, I walked into a room of impeccably dressed journalists at a media event in Los Angeles. I tugged on my pilly cardigan and patted down my frizzy bangs.

When a waiter presented a tray of sliced cucumbers and prosciutto and asked, “Crudité?” I resisted the temptation to shove three of them into my mouth and instead smiled and replied, “No, thank you.” I was focused on the task at hand: pretending not to be a fraud among this crowd of professionals.

Ironically, I was at the event to interview someone about impostor syndrome.

The psychologists Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes coined the term in 1978, describing it as “internal experience of intellectual phoniness in people who believe that they are not intelligent, capable or creative despite evidence of high achievement.” In other words, it’s that sinking sense that you are a fraud in your industry, role or position, regardless of your credibility, authority or accomplishments.

This is not a unique feeling, and it hits many of us at some point in our lives. But some researchers believe it hits minority groups harder, as a lack of representation can make minorities feel like outsiders, and discrimination creates even more stress and anxiety when coupled with impostorism, according to Kevin Cokley, a professor of educational psychology and African diaspora studies at the University of Texas at Austin.

Read the full article here.

Live By Design Success Group Retreat

Do any of these resonate with you?

  • I have ridden the current of life for so long and done what is necessary, not what I want — I ended up with a life that is just good, not great.
  • There are so many things that are important and URGENT, my self-care and self-discovery don’t ever make the list. I know what needs to be done, but I can’t get out of my own way to make it happen.
  • I have so many ideas of what I want to do, but I am afraid that if I choose to do something that is meaningful and fulfilling, I won’t be able to meet my family’s financial needs.
  • It is very hard for me to enjoy all the good things in my life. I used to know what I wanted to do, but I no longer feel connected to those ideas.
  • I‘m so good at taking care of everything and everyone else — my job, my family, my spouse, my friends. I miss “me” and I’m not sure how to find it.

If you found yourself nodding in agreement with these statements, you are not alone. I hear these from women all the time and I experienced many of them myself. I created the Live by Design Success Group for you.

What would it feel like for this year to be THE year that you get out of your own way and create a great life that is meaningful and fulfilling? 

How would it feel to look back on this year and know you have made measurable strides forward towards living your best life?

What would it be like to know you have a group of ROCKSTAR women who understand you, have your back and are holding you up in the direction of your dreams?

Imagine celebrating all your achievements at a beautiful retreat and spa, in the company of this community and looking back with pride at what you have accomplished, and looking forward with a sense of enthusiasm and anticipation on what you will create for yourself next.

This is where the Live by Design Success Group comes in.

What is it?

The Live by Design Success Group is an application-only, elite coaching group for 8-10 women who are looking to connect with their true purpose, live intentionally and achieve measurable results through inspired action in the current year and beyond.

We meet bi-monthly for six months to help you discover and design your ideal life.

Participants will create inspired action in three categories:

  • SELF — health/body/mind/wellness
  • CONNECTION — relationships with family, spouse/partner, children, community, friends
  • CONTRIBUTION — career, business, volunteer, etc.

In September 2018 (date TBD) participants will meet for a CELEBRATION RETREAT at a destination spa. We will connect, be pampered and enjoy the beauty of this amazing place as we celebrate our achievements and look forward to what we can accomplish next.

Here’s what you’ll gain from this program:

  • Feeling in Control of Your Life. Getting back behind the wheel of your life.
  • Clarity. Learn your vision, mission, purpose.
  • Vision. Identify your best life.
  • A Path Forward. Design and build a life you love.
  • Community. Form a community of women who will help keep you accountable.
  • Confidence. Gain confidence that you can achieve your ideal life in a way that is joyful and straightforward.
  • Results. You’ll identify measurable, inspired action steps that will lead to real results.
  • Sense of Accomplishment. Identify meaningful accomplishments that move you towards your vision.
  • Tools and Resources to Set You up for Success. You’ll learn tools to help with decision-making, forward movement and creating meaning in our six months together and beyond.

So much content! Here’s what this program consists of:

  • Bi-weekly, content-rich group coaching sessions that meet virtually on Monday nights from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. PST/8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. EST by Zoom Conference. Save these dates: 2018 dates TBD
  • Monthly meetings with a small accountability group of 2-3 of your peers in the group.
  • Six (6) one-on-one 55-minute coaching sessions with me, Lisa Fain, group facilitator and founder of Vista Coaching and Vice President of the Center for Mentoring Excellence, a division of Leadership Development Services. (1 per month)
  • Celebration Retreat at a destination resort and spa in September 2018.
  • Membership in a private Facebook group, where you will receive guidance, tips and inspiration, and get support from your fellow group members.
  • Special treats along the way!

APPLY HERE for the next group, beginning March 2018!

Who this is for:

  • Rockstar women who want the most out of life and are willing to do the work to have a life they love.
  • Smart women who are committed to creating community and supporting others.
  • Busy women who have so many balls in the air that they are eager to be more proactive with how they shape their life.

Who this is not for:

  • Anyone looking for a quick-fix, cookie-cutter approach.
  • Someone who is not willing to commit to showing up or supporting other group members.
  • Someone who would prefer to “go it alone.”


  • Attend the Celebration Retreat in September 2018.
  • Attend 80% of the group calls and follow up on those you cannot attend.
  • Have a reliable Internet connection to participate in bi-monthly video calls.
  • Do the work!
  • Support others in the group.
  • Ask for what you need!

Fast forward to September 2018. Imagine sitting by the pool at a beautiful mountain resort, after a gratifying hike, pampering massage or laughs with friends. As you absorb this beautiful space and look back over the last six months, you’ll be amazed at the many things you have accomplished, feeling connected to your purpose and on track towards your BEST LIFE!

It IS possible, and I’d love to help you get there!

What are you willing to invest to create a life you love?

What does it mean to have a group of women who will support and guide you as you achieve your goals this year and beyond?

How valuable is it to you to have a wise coach who will guide you with encouragement, tough questions and a gentle kick in the rear?

Can you imagine your sense of satisfaction and accomplishment as you enjoy an unforgettable spa and resort experience where you can celebrate, renew, connect and get inspired to build upon the success you have achieved?

Your Coach:

The Live By Design Success Group is led by me, Lisa Fain, Founder and Life Coach at Vista Coaching and Vice President of the Center for Mentoring Excellence, a division of Leadership Development Services. I’m a life coach with a knack for warmth, wisdom and practicality. I provide support, encouragement and a healthy kick-in-the-rear to catapult my clients towards their best lives. I love creating community and connections that lift women up and help them discover the great lives they deserve so they can use their own lives to make an imprint on the world. Over the last ten years, I’ve transformed my own life from “good enough” to one I love. I can’t wait to help you do the same.

Your Investment:

Your investment of $5,000 in the Live By Design Success Group includes:

  • Each month:
    • Two (2) 90-minute virtual group coaching calls (12 total)
    • One (1) 55-minute 1-on-1 coaching session with Lisa Fain per month (6 total)
    • One (1) small group accountability call (6 total)
  • Membership in Live by Design Success Group private Facebook group
  • Journal
  • Special surprise treats sent to you throughout the program
  • Homework, exercises, toolkit
  • Cost of Celebration Retreat:
    • Four (4) days, three (3) nights at a destination resort
    • Breakfast, lunch and dinner each day
    • Transportation to/from spa and airport
    • All Live By Design group organized activities (these may include, but are not limited to, a group hike, yoga/tai chi class, guided trip to nearby scenic location, special customized spa experience)

This does not include:

  • Travel insurance
  • Flights/transportation
  • Additional (non-group) spa treatments or activities at the resort

The Live by Design Success Group starts March 2018 and is by application only. APPLY HERE NOW!