Business mentoring is a journey that takes you from a starting point towards an ultimate goal. Measuring your progress helps ensure you're moving in the right direction. Many businesses with a Mentor say external accountability is one of the most valuable benefits of mentoring. Below are some ideas for measuring your progress with mentoring. They'll help you get the most from your relationship and follow a path that takes you where you want to go. If you’re ready to begin straight away, you can register for a Business Mentor here.
Begin by checking your starting point
If you want to measure progress, you need to know your starting point. In your first few meetings with your Mentor, you'll both talk about where your business is at. Your Mentor will have some questions about things such as the structure of your business, what kinds of processes you have in place and so on. Above all, they’ll want to hear your thoughts on strengths, opportunities as well as any risks or concerns.
Together, you can decide the best way to document your starting point for Mentoring. You may simply write up some notes, or you may have existing reports you can share with your Mentor. Throughout your mentoring journey, referring back to this first snapshot will help you see the progress you've made.
Set SMART goals as your milestones
Setting clear goals at the beginning of your mentoring relationship is vital if you’d like to see progress. The SMART goal framework helps you build impetus that you can see.
- S: Specific – your goal has a tight scope that allows you to focus
- M: Measurable – you’ll have evidence to measure your progress and success
- A: Attainable – your goal is realistic and something you can do in the time you have
- R: Relevant – your goal aligns with your values and long-term vision
- T: Time-bound – your goal has a realistic completion date and encourages prioritisation
Sharing your SMART goals with your Mentor allows them to support you. It’s also an opportunity to show you’re committed and prepared to be accountable. You may wish to set some goals together and include one around measuring your mentoring progress.
Here’s a couple of examples:
- Together, we’ll confirm our individual communication preferences and details by the end of the first mentoring meeting.
- As a business owner, my goal is to send a sales proposal to one extra lead each week.
Embrace the ups and downs
Even when you work hard and make progress in business, things don’t always turn out as you hope. Being in business means dealing with uncertainty and unpredictability. It can be challenging and exhausting. But when you have a Mentor, it no longer needs to be lonely.
With your Mentor’s objectivity and support, you can mine your toughest times for insight and learning. Embrace the twists and turns as lessons to mark your progress. A failed sales pitch can become a powerful step forward if you analyse it with a fresh perspective. Your Mentor can help you with this, so you're ready to succeed next time.
Include subjective measurements
Don’t discount measuring your progress in subjective ways.
If you have a new sense of what’s wrong in your business, then that’s actually progress. Even if you don’t know what ‘right’ looks like yet, you’re on your way to finding out. Real change often comes not from being inspired but from feeling discontent. It makes sense that before you have the solution, you’ll understand the problem. Fortunately, you don’t have to figure things out alone when you have a Business Mentor.
If you’re starting to reassess what you can gain from Mentoring, that’s another sign of progress. As you gain more understanding of how mentoring can support you, you may wish to be more ambitious. Be open with your Mentor about how much you can manage.
Finally, if you have a gained clearer or different version of your ultimate destination, then you have a strong measure of progress. As you work with a Business Mentor, you’ll be encouraged to get clear about what you want for your business in the long run. They may challenge you to think bigger or differently based on their own experiences. If you’re taking their insights onboard, you may find your plans change. This is a sign of a successful and meaningful mentoring relationship.
Start measuring your progress now
Any journey starts with a single step. If you haven't yet reached out for a Business Mentor, then you can begin your journey now at www.businessmentors.org.nz. If you do have a Mentor and you’d like to measure your progress, you can work on it together. Your Mentor will be able to help you with a snapshot for benchmarking, some SMART goals to focus on and powerful insights that can only come through experience.