Exercise 4: Developing a Work Plan for Achieving your Learning Goals

One of the first steps in participating in this Virtual Mentoring and Coaching Office is to think about putting together a work plan. This is a way of developing a strategy to achieve your goals and objectives. There are a couple of simple steps to follow as you go through the process. The exercise below will help you put your thoughts down in your journal or on paper.

The first step is identifying the learning goals. This is where it all starts. You need to ask yourself what it is that you want to learn more about in this mentoring office. For example a goal might be “Strengthen my leadership abilities.” Next, you need to lay out the objectives as to how you will achieve that learning goal. For example, “To determine which new experiences I can undertake that will give me the exposure I need.” Identifying the learning tasks that will help you meet your goal is the next step. For example, I will need to read an article from a respected author or journal on the qualities of a good leader or I will need to volunteer in a volunteer group like the Centre for Global and Community Engagement at the University of Ottawa to see leaders in action. The fourth step is to list as many potential resources as possible, for example, interview a community leader on campus, or check the on-line holdings at the Morriset library on leadership qualities. Next, set a target date to accomplish your learning goal. Setting a date designates a specific time to evaluate your progress.  In the coaching world there is a simple acronym that is used to help gaol setting that may be helpful in this exercise: SMART. S means the goal should be specific; for example, I will have completed this 1,500 word report by [by a specific date]. M means the goal should be measurable; for example, the report is complete or not complete. A means the goal is achievable; for example, is it likely that the goal can be completed by the specific date? R means the goal is realistic; for example, is the goal in the capability of the individual? T means the goal is time bound; for example, can the goal be achieved by the specific date?

Now take some time to complete the following mentoring work plan in your journal.

Mentoring Work Plan

From Zachary (2012) Exercise 5.4, pages 151-152

Learning Goals Success Criteria
What are your goals?
Are they SMART – Specific, Measurable, Action Oriented, Realistic, and Time Oriented?
Objectives – Specific & Measureable
How will I achieve my goals?
Learning Tasks & Processes – Action Oriented & Realistic
What specific steps need to be taken to meet my objectives?
What or who do I need to help me meet my objectives?
Target Date – Time Oriented
When do I need to have this done?