Give your mentee SMART Feedback

Providing your mentee with the best feedback is not as difficult as solving a Rubik's Cube, its about thinking SMART.

Being a mentor, especially if it’s for the first time, can be a very exciting yet overwhelming place to find yourself in. You’ve been paired with a mentee who is now looking to you for guidance to help them ace their goals.

You may be wondering how to make a positive impact in guiding and supporting your mentee up the various ladders of life. They will look to you as their trusted advisor, but how do you build that trust?

As the largest demographic in the workforce, there is a strong likelihood that your mentee is a millennial. One thing millennials crave more than anything in their working relationships is feedback.

Millennials want feedback. They want it now and they want it consistently, or they’ll simply leave. Giving Millennials feedback is a very different game from what we knew in the past.” – Forbes

Your relationship with your mentee is a personal one, to stand out as an amazing mentor in your mentees eyes – you need to take a genuine interest in your mentee and learn about the journey they have gone through to get to the current point in their life. Your mentee will be eager to do the same and will ask many questions about your career to date.

Once you have that mutual understanding of each other’s journey’s – this will help you in your mentoring journey, especially when it is time to start giving feedback.


Giving constructive feedback is a fine balance between positive and negative. When providing advice and guidance to your mentee one approach is to think SMART. As with goals, your mentee will value SMART feedback – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Based.

A refresher on the art of S.M.A.R.T.:

  • Specific (simple, sensible, significant).
  • Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
  • Achievable (agreed, attainable).
  • Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based).
  • Time – Based (time-limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).

SMART feedback is a better way to find the balance between positive and negative. It’s acknowledging weaker areas in the mentees, skill set and suggesting SMART steps to help them get there.

Feedback in Action.

Say your mentee wants to improve their public speaking skills, they have a presentation coming up in two weeks time and they give you a run through of their talking points at a mentoring session.

SMART Feedback could look like this:

  • Specific “Plant both feet firmly on the ground and avoid putting your hands in your pockets – if your hands feel awkward, keep them behind your back which will open out your shoulders.”
  • Measurable “Practice makes perfect and will help you develop your self-belief that you will have a great presentation.”
  • Achievable “Practice saying it in front of the mirror – you could even record yourself doing the speech every day.”
  • Relevant “Nerves are normal! Incorporate pauses into your speech, it’s also a good technique for avoiding umms and ahhs. Remember, silence is golden.”
  • Time – Based. “Let’s reconvene in a week and you can run through the presentation with me again.”

Inspired to kick start your mentoring journey? Check out our First Meeting Checklist for Mentors.

If you’re looking to kick start a mentoring movement at your organisation, get in touch with Mentorloop today.

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Em is our Marketing Manager at Mentorloop. That's a lot of 'm's! | She is passionate about crafting messages, crafternoons and craft beer.

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