Become a Better Mentor: Define Mentoring Goals with OKRs

By EverwiseFebruary 6, 2015

Everwise mentor Olivia Teich, (former VP of Product Management at Jive) asks her protégés to create objectives and key results, commonly referred to as OKRs, to help chart a course for their relationship.  According to Olivia, OKRs are a “popular business tool for planning, aligning teams, and measuring effectiveness.”

51Originally pioneered by Intel, OKRs are now used by fast-moving companies like Google and LinkedIn to align their organization around strategic goals and to measure progress.

Olivia explains that, “they’re just as valuable for driving personal growth with a mentor, coach, or team member and work well for hard-to-measure goals like increasing confidence or being a more effective leader.”

Here are her 5 steps for using OKRs with her protégé:

  1. Read – First, she ask her protégé learn about OKRs.
  2. Write – Her protégé drafts his/her own OKRs for personal and professional growth. Objectives are often around strengthening softer skills like leadership and executive presence.
  3. Refine – At their next meeting, she and her protégé revise the OKRs together. The discussion and iterations help get to the root of existing challenges and identify the highest-impact objectives. Although time consuming, this upfront work helps her protégé think more strategically about the relationship and ensures her and her protégé are aligned.
  4. Reference – Olivia looks back at the OKRs periodically during the relationship and uses them as a benchmark against which to measure progress.
  5. Revise – Together, Olivia and her protégé alter OKRs to reflect shifting needs and identify important work still to do.

Here are some example protégé OKRs:

Objective #1: Become a compelling public speaker

Key Results

  • Record myself practicing my next presentation.  Watch the tape and note two specific ways I can improve.
  • Watch videos of my favorite speakers and make a list of why they are compelling.

Objective #2: Optimize my relationship with my mentor

Key Results

  • Send out a draft agenda for our meetings at least three days in advance.
  • Share with my mentor three ways I implemented their advice and how it has impacted my job.
  • End each mentoring session with a quick feedback session, during which both my mentor and I share one positive and one suggestion for improving our next meeting.




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