Skills Development

How to Set and Achieve Long-Term Career Goals (With Examples)

For many ambitious and proactive employees, setting long-term career goals is essential for steering your career in the right direction.

Setting long-term goals can be complex and can get overwhelming if you allow it to. But with a careful, pragmatic approach that puts achievable goals in the front view, you will quell that feeling and enjoy each productive step forwards.

This article explores the importance of long-term goals, introduces a 5-step approach that will change how you perceive goals, and tells you exactly why mentoring is a fundamental piece of the puzzle in goal-setting.

Let’s get planning!

People development header imageThe importance of setting long-term career goals

Long-term goals are essential, especially if you have a specific career trajectory in mind. Without goals, we can easily go off-course and even stagnate in our careers. A solid career plan will reinforce the work you do every day, and imbue you with purpose that takes you where you want to go. Not to mention, keep you focused and on track. 

Before we go on, it’s important to remember that a long-term career plan doesn’t need to be set in stone. Your goals may change and grow as you do and that’s ok. And of course, you can change it at any time, and adjust it as you evolve through your journey. A career plan is there to help you, calibrate your focus, and maintain the motivation you need to achieve ambitious goals. 

In either case, a long-term career goal is a set of milestones that lead you to a particular ‘ultimate’ goal. This might be the CEO of your own company or perhaps you’re striving for a level of financial security or creative expression through work.

In any case, planning is involved to get the ball rolling. To do so, you might prefer to use your ingenuity and smarts to do it yourself, but you can help yourself along a bit by taking a look at how you can start.

📖 Find out more about putting together a career progression plan in our guide, today 📖

Examples of long-term career goals

If you’re looking for inspiration of the kinds of long-term career goals you can set to ensure success, we’re here to help.

Long-term goals can be anywhere from 1-year to 20-years in the making so think big!

Here are 5 top long-term goal examples:

1. Salary

Financial security is increasingly important as the world changes. With the cost of living crisis and redundancies across once secure businesses, prioritising your salary goals is important.

There are many steps you can take to get to your goal salary, showing your management team that you’ve got what it takes. Don’t forget, sometimes being up front with your goals is necessary, so don’t be afraid to communicate your ambitions with your employer. 

Remember, salary is only one part of your work package. Negotiating across the spectrum of benefits is important, for example your employer pension contribution can massively affect your ability to retire securely in future.

2. Retirement

Which brings us nicely to our next point, for many people a long-term goal may actually be when you plan to stop working. Perhaps you want to retire comfortably by the age of 55 or you have a goal of the pension fund you need to enjoy your golden years.

Either way, planning is key to ensure you can have the retirement that you want when the time comes.

3. Mastery

They say that mastery takes 10,000 hours of practice. Mastering a skill can be a fulfilling and rewarding goal that is not focussed on material gain, but on the emotional rewards of progress. Setting this as a long-term goal is a great way to remind yourself why you do what you do.

This may include reaching a level of education or training associated with your profession and works well for careers that have a clearly defined process for certifying skill. Equally, you may find that years or accolades help you understand what mastery means to you.

4. Job title

For some people, their long-term goal is about reaching a certain job role or title. Whether it’s CEO, or Head of Department, there are lots of long-term goals that you can set around rising the ranks in your career.

Equally, you may want to set goals around variety of role or industry – for many a squiggly career is fulfilling and being able to leave your career having reached a number of interesting roles is what you are looking for.

Mentoring, coaching and sponsorship e-book bannerTop tips for hitting your goals

Ready to set you BHAG? (Big Hairy Ambitious Goal!) Then remember these top tips:

1. Make you goal SMART

The SMART goal-setting framework is a classic for a reason – it works.

SMART stands for:

Specific: The clearer the goal, the easier it is to see if you’ve hit it or not.

Measurable: It’s hard to see results if you can’t measure progress so make your goal measurable.

Attainable: Setting goals you can’t achieve is de-motivating! Make sure you can actually hit your goal, however ambitious it is.

Relevant: It needs to be tied into your other life goals and activities otherwise it can easily be sidelined.

Time-bound: Give yourself a deadline and work backwards from there to make sure you can achieve your goal.

This framework helps you to set goals that are clearly defined and achievable, which will help you to stay on track and see progress.

📖 Find out more about how to set goals and achieve them in our guide 📖

2. Find a mentor

Mentorship is vital for hitting your career goals, not the least because it allows you to vocalise your goals and get some genuine, honest advice about how to go about them. Regular meetings will increase your belief in yourself, and keep you on the right track. Plus, it allows you to see how others have achieved their goals. Look into this when you can!

3. Break goals down

It’s useful to break your goals down into smaller goals. For instance, if you have a large overarching goal like “I will become the CEO of a large multinational company”, it should be broken down into achievable sections with clear timeframes. 

Physicality is important here. Write your goals down on cards, or pin Post-it notes to a cork board. One way or the other, stay aware of them each day. 

4. Hold yourself accountable

It’s important to hold yourself accountable for your long-term goals. Firstly, acknowledge that they’re not going to come to you. It’s all down to you. It’s your responsibility. Then look at the cards on the table. How do you proceed? Figure the different avenues of this out and you’ll be well on the way. Then it’s a case of spending the appropriate amount of time per week with each avenue to achieve the results. You can even buy a journal and list weekly tasks with rewards.

5. Celebrate your success

Every successful step forwards must be celebrated. You should do something fun to reward yourself like a holiday or a new book. This self-imposed rewards scheme will give you that extra incentive to keep going so that you remain aware of the steps ahead of you but appreciate every milestone, however small.

The verdict

Putting a career goal into place will transform your working life and reinforce the validity of your daily tasks. The key thing is to stick with your plan once you have identified it and mapped it out, and assess the results and every step towards success. But also, remember to reassess the plan regularly. This allows you to make changes and remove low-priority tasks.

If you need more information about how to handle your career trajectory, then check out our related posts:

Mentors Assemble: The Benefits of a Personal Advisory Board

46 Inspirational Mentoring Quotes

The Importance of Positive Self-Talk

Top Mentorship Goals for Mentees

The Importance of Overcoming Limiting Beliefs 

Skills Development

The Importance of Overcoming Limiting Beliefs (With Examples)

Have you ever felt like there’s a daily battle going on in your head? We spend so much time thinking about what others think of us that we often don’t realise we’re our worst enemies. This is what’s known as limiting beliefs

In the wonderful journey that is life, we humans often encounter barriers that hinder our growth and progress. These barriers, known as limiting beliefs, can significantly impact our personal and professional lives. 

The worst thing is they’re completely self-imposed boundaries that only exist in the mind. Even the most confident people deal with limiting beliefs, and the good news is you can break through them and go on to conquer your fears and embrace new opportunities. 

In this guide, we’ll show you how to identify limiting beliefs and deal with them so you can unlock your true potential and achieve success.

Signs saying doubt and believe pointing in opposite directionsWhat are limiting beliefs?

Limiting beliefs are deeply ingrained convictions or assumptions about ourselves, others, or the world as a whole. They’re often formed in early life based on our experiences, upbringing, societal norms, or past failures. 

These beliefs act as filters through which we interpret events and make decisions.

However, they’re restrictive and prevent us from pursuing opportunities or taking risks. Self-limiting beliefs often leave you feeling unmotivated or without confidence – but you are not alone

Research reveals that many employees lack the confidence to put their ideas forward, ask for a pay rise and engage in meetings. Showing how much they can hold us back at work. 

Where do limiting beliefs come from?

Limiting beliefs can originate from a number of sources, and it’s not always about having a personal negative experience. You might not know where the limiting belief originated, but if you can work it out, it may help you move forward. 

Here are some common places limiting beliefs can originate from:

1. Childhood experiences

Negative experiences or feedback during childhood can shape our beliefs about ourselves and our capabilities. Criticism from parents, teachers, or peers can create self-doubt and limit our potential.

For example, if a teacher tells a student that they’ll never pass a particular exam, these experiences will impact their confidence later in life. 

2. Societal conditioning

Society often imposes certain expectations and norms that influence our beliefs. These societal pressures can limit our choices and create self-imposed boundaries. For example, if you’ve yet to reach a particular milestone, it might impact your confidence. 

The workplace is highly competitive, and failing to meet KPIs or other productivity initiatives can lead to limiting beliefs about your capability. 

3. Past failures

Previous setbacks or failures can instil fear and self-doubt, leading to the development of limiting beliefs. 

For example, going for a job interview and being unsuccessful or failing to get a promotion can impact your confidence, and your negative beliefs then act as protective mechanisms to avoid future disappointment or pain.

3. Comparisons and social media

Constant comparisons to others, primarily through social media platforms, can breed feelings of inadequacy and reinforce limiting beliefs. We live in a world of influencers and celebrity culture, so it’s sometimes hard to separate fact from fiction. 

4. Negative influences

Surrounding ourselves with negative or unsupportive individuals can reinforce our limiting beliefs, making it harder to break free from their grip.

A boss that criticises everything you do or negative relationships can slowly decrease your self-esteem, making it harder to believe in your abilities. 

Why do we need to overcome limiting beliefs?

Overcoming limiting beliefs is crucial for personal growth and success. These beliefs can hold us back from getting promotions, trying new things and so many more important steps in life. 

Here are some reasons why it is essential to challenge and overcome these self-imposed barriers:

  • Unlock your potential: Limiting beliefs prevents us from exploring our true potential and discovering our talents and abilities. We open ourselves to new opportunities and personal growth by overcoming these beliefs.
  • Increase self-confidence: Limiting beliefs erode our self-confidence and self-esteem. Overcoming them helps build resilience, belief in oneself, and empowerment.
  • Expand your comfort zone: Limiting beliefs create a comfort zone that keeps us within familiar boundaries. We can expand our comfort zone and embrace new challenges and experiences by challenging and overcoming these beliefs.
  • Achieve success: Limiting beliefs act as roadblocks on the path to success. By breaking free from these self-imposed limitations, we can pursue our goals with renewed determination and succeed.
  • Improve relationships: Limiting beliefs can hinder healthy relationships by creating barriers to intimacy, trust, and vulnerability. Overcoming these beliefs allows for deeper connections and more fulfilling relationships.

Examples of 10 common limiting beliefs:

So, now you know more about limiting beliefs, it’s time to look at some common examples of them in action. 

Ever said/thought any of these? 

I’m not: 

  • Talented enough to succeed in my chosen field.
  • Good enough to get a promotion or pay rise. 
  • Going to stay in this job because it’s not working. 

I’m too: 

  • Old to pursue my dreams.
  • Unimportant for anyone to listen to my ideas. 
  • Nervous to go to the interview, even though I want the job. 

I don’t: 

  • Deserve success or happiness. 
  • Take risks because they always lead to failure. 
  • Know how to do this so won’t try.

I can’t: 

  • Speak up in public because I’m too shy.
  • Do my job as well as others.
  • Ask for what I want because I won’t get it.

Mentoring, coaching and sponsorship e-book bannerHow to stop limiting beliefs holding you back in the workplace:

1. Identify your limiting beliefs 

Identifying your limiting beliefs will ultimately help you overcome them. You can start by reflecting on your thoughts and emotions to recognise any patterns of self-doubt or negativity. A journal can be helpful for recording and recognising patterns. 

2. Challenge your beliefs 

Question the validity of your limiting beliefs by asking yourself if there’s concrete evidence to support them or if they’re based on assumptions or past experiences.

Look for alternative perspectives that contradict your limiting beliefs. Confidence-building workshops and a supportive mentor are great for challenging our limiting beliefs. 

3. Reframe your mind

Replacing negative self-talk with positive and empowering thoughts can reframe your limiting beliefs into more constructive statements that align with your goals and aspirations. 

For example, instead of saying, “I’m not good enough,” reframe it as “I am not good enough YET but I am continuously learning and improving.”

4. Take action

Overcoming limiting beliefs requires action, so start by setting small, achievable goals that challenge your self-imposed boundaries.

Celebrate your successes, no matter how small, and use them as evidence to reinforce your new empowering beliefs.

5. Utilise mentors and coaches

Getting a mentor or coach can provide invaluable support and guidance in overcoming limiting beliefs. Mentors can help you gain perspective, provide accountability, and offer strategies to overcome challenges.

If you’re looking for a mentor, remember to ask them the right questions to ensure it’s a good match. 

6. Embrace a growth mindset

Adopting a growth mindset allows you to embrace learning and resilience. It helps you to understand that failure is an opportunity for growth and that setbacks do not define your worth or abilities. 

Embracing challenges as stepping stones moves you further toward personal and professional development.

The bottom line 

Self-limiting beliefs can leave you feeling demotivated and worried about your future, but following the tips in this guide will make a massive difference to your personal and professional life. 

Finding a mentor is a fantastic way to get the support you need to conquer fears and gain the confidence to embrace new challenges. 

With a little time and motivation, you’ll go from hiding away to out and about, getting ready to take on whatever the world has to throw at you. 

Learn more with Guider: 

The Benefits of Mentoring

Personal Development and Career Goals

Importance of Positive Self-Talk

How to Take Responsibility For Your Personal Development

Career Progression Top Tips

Skills Development

5 Steps To Perfecting Your Career Progression Plan

Whether you’re an employer or employee, career progression plans are essential for talent development. Not only do they create a clear roadmap of your employee’s future goals, but they’re also great for building stronger relationships and are a major factor in positive employee retention rates. 

Which is especially important if you’re a UK employer, as the UK has some of Europe’s worst employee engagement rates, highlighting a genuine issue with how businesses interact with their team. 

So, investing time into creating solid progression plans could be the secret to better retention. But creating effective progression plans can trip managers and managees up. 

In this guide, we’ll reveal five steps to creating top career progression plans that cover all bases and create clear roadmaps for all company members. So sit back, relax and let’s dive in. 

What exactly is a progression plan?

A career progression plan is designed to help people identify their goals and create a roadmap for achieving them. It’s an ongoing process that involves setting short-term, intermediate, and long-term goals to provide focus and direction. 

Businesses use them to set expectations and goals for each employee to move up the career ladder and work towards the company’s objectives. 

Career progression plans typically include milestones such as achieving certain certifications, acquiring new skills or competencies, taking on new responsibilities, and completing performance goals. 

They also often include timelines for achieving these milestones and may consist of specific training or development opportunities to help employees gain the necessary skills and knowledge to advance.

It’s important to remember that employers and employees find progression plans mutually beneficial. They can also help mentors support people more effectively. 

📖 Find out more about How to Be a Good Mentor in our guide 📖

Does everyone need a progression plan?

In a previous post, we explored the importance of career progression and how it ultimately defines a company’s success. It’s a known fact that people today look for more than just a job. 

According to research by recruitment agency Aspire, over 60% of people who participated in a survey said they were looking for a new job. 

With people being more likely to leave their roles if the opportunities aren’t there, employers need to support their team and help them develop plans that move each employee to their future goals. 

Some people might say that career progression plans are more of a luxury than a necessity, but forward-thinking companies can prepare for the future and avoid high employee turnover rates by utilising these plans. 

And the benefits go beyond retention. Setting a clear path for development helps you to build a high-performing team, with the right skills to do their jobs. A must in today’s ever changing workforce.

Find out how CLyde & Co are transforming people through mentoring5 steps to crafting a perfect progression plan

Most employee’s will have an idea of where they’d like to be in the future, and if employers work with them to reach these goals, they’re more likely to remain loyal to the company. 

When creating a career profession plan, both manager and managee should be involved to ensure clear expectations and that both parties know what they’re working towards. 

Next, we’ll look at five steps to crafting the perfect progression plan.

1: Set the direction

The first step is to assess your current skills and experience and determine what skills and experiences may be lacking. The main goal of any progression plan is to move forward, so understanding your starting point will ensure you’re going in the right direction. 

Looking at where you’d like to be in the future is essential. For example, an employee might want to go into a management position, while the employer’s goal could be integrating software and AI to improve the company’s productivity.  You need alignment in the end goal to create a successful progression plan. 

Career progression plans should include short-term goals and long-term objectives to ensure each person stays on track. 

2: Evaluate the current situation 

Understanding where you’re at will help you figure out how to reach your destination. Employees will think about their goals, but employers must also consider how those objectives could fit into the company’s bigger picture. 

Looking at any qualifications or certifications held will also highlight areas of weakness and enable managers and mentors to create effective training plans. It’s also essential to look at the skills needed for future roles and potential qualifications. 

Developing progression plans can also help employers and managers notice any areas of weakness that might impact the company. 

3: Make a timeline with action points 

Once you understand where you’d like to go and create a roadmap, it’s time to break it down into actionable steps—outlining specific actions such as taking courses or obtaining certifications to increase your chances of success.

For example, if a manager is onboarding a new employee, the roadmap could start with a current skills assessment and then map out training points to get the individual to the same stage as long-term employees. 

Progression plans should also map each person’s journey, from entry-level to senior managers. 

As the plan goes on, it should include various courses and workshops that will serve a purpose in getting the employee to reach their goals. 

4: Execute the plan 

Once the plan is complete, it’s time for the fun part; executing it. You might find that the initial plan changes once active because specific courses or training programmes might be unavailable. 

The important thing is to stay on track with immediate goals and far-reaching objectives in place. 

Once all parties know their responsibilities for ensuring the plan comes to fruition, it’s easier to keep track of things and successfully meet each point. 

📖 Finding a mentor is a key part of success in your career development. Find out more in article: The Importance of Mentoring 📖

5: Review progress and reevaluate 

Regularly reviewing and updating each career progression plan ensures it remains relevant and aligned with career and organisational goals. 

Employees might explore different courses and change their goals, which employers should accept and encourage if it improves the business. 

Regular reviews also highlight any issues with the company’s mentoring programme and enable them to evaluate whether the progression plan is in the best interests of everyone involved. 

Looking for more help? Find a mentor

As you can see, career progression plans mutually benefit both employer and employee, but they’re not always easy to set up. Someone with experience in your field can boost professional development and ensure employees get bespoke support. 

Mentors are invaluable assets for a company because they give employees the opportunity to learn new skills and move towards their dream careers. 

📖 Find out how mentoring makes great managers here 📖

There are so many statistics that prove the benefits of mentors. With 97% of people saying their mentor was valuable, it’s clear to see companies with mentoring programmes will reap endless rewards. 

As an employee, you should ask your manager to invest in a mentoring programme. And as a leader, you should be backing your people up! 

Mentors can ensure employees stay on track but also bridge the gap between high-level management and entry-level employees, highlighting what’s important and enhancing communication. 

Find out more about how Guider worksFinal thoughts 

Progression plans ensure individuals and companies reach their goals and build something together. Creating the perfect plan takes time, but the results far outweigh the initial investment. 

And if you back up your people’s progression plans with access to mentoring and other support systems, you’re sure to bring out the best in your people. Meaning better productivity, better retention and happier employees!

If you’re new to mentoring, the Guider blog features plenty of valuable resources to help you get started: 

How to Start a Mentoring Program: Step by Step

The Cost of Not Doing Mentoring 

Inspirational Mentoring Quotes

Top Tips For Retaining Female Talent

Skills Development

Supercharge Career Progression With These Top Tips

Do you wake up every morning feeling excited about your day? Or does the humdrum of getting up and going to work leave you feeling uninspired? If it’s the latter, you’re not alone.

According to The Independent, over a third of UK adults aren’t happy in their current jobs. But don’t despair, the study also found that people with a sense of purpose, such as teachers, were happier than employees in general management and sales roles. 

If you want to achieve more in your professional life, and feel more satisfied, you need to invest in developing your skills and take a proactive approach to climbing the career ladder.

In this guide, we’ll reveal top tips that will allow you to supercharge your career and open up new opportunities.

What is career progression?

In simple terms, career progression is where a person continues to develop their knowledge and take on more specialised and senior roles during their working life. It might involve taking courses to diversify your skillset or moving from junior to management roles.

Career progression looks different for everyone, but its main premise is to set long-term goals broken down into short-term objectives.

It’s important to remember that there’s no set path. Some people might want to move into a different area during their working lives. Others might have more clearly defined goals for getting a better salary and taking on more responsibility. The point is, it’s your career and you’re in the driving seat. 

Find out more about taking charge of your personal development in our guide. 

Why is career progression so important?

There was a time when people would leave school and head straight into the workforce – often working in similar jobs to their parents. A job was a job, and security was more important than a person’s wants and dreams.

Today, most workers change jobs every four years, and the Millennial generation was the first to display less loyalty to their employers, with Gen Z following suit and earning the label ‘the quit generation.’

With economic conditions meaning that many people are simply not earning enough to live comfortably, career progression, for many, is no longer a nice-to-have – but a necessity.

Here’s why career progression is so important:

  • Financial stability: More money equals fewer problems – and nobody would turn down the opportunity to boost their salary.
  • Job satisfaction: We all want to be happy in our careers and take on new challenges. Climbing the career ladder will often result in higher job satisfaction rates.
  • More confidence: When a person builds their skills and steps up to the plate to take on more responsibility, it inevitably boosts their confidence.
  • Less instability: Technology will continue to evolve, and AI could mean many people have to either update their skills or completely retrain. When you focus on career progression, you can future-proof your job and ensure you’ll always have a seat at the table.

How can I develop my career?

So, now you know why career progression is essential; it’s time to look at how to supercharge your career and take advantage of all available opportunities. From sitting down to evaluate your wants and needs to invest in training courses, there’s so much you can do.

Let’s take a look at the best career progression tips:

Goal setting

Goal setting is central to a successful career because it keeps you on track and lets you define what’s most important to you. It isn’t all about money – career progression can mean taking on more responsibility or changing industries and to do this you need to set clear goals. 

Once you know what you want, it’s easier to focus on identifying key areas you’ll need to focus on to reach those goals.


Never underestimate the importance of mentoring because it really can change your life. Imagine having access to an industry expert who will give you the skills you need to tackle any challenge head-on, and you’ll understand why mentoring is invaluable.

The best thing is most mentors enjoy sharing their experience and success, so you’ll receive hands-on learning from an industry expert. There are also many types of mentoring, so you can be sure to find the right style for you. Plus mentoring is a great way to boost your employee wellbeing! It’s a win-win all round. 

If you’re considering exploring this route, here are 50 questions to ask a mentor and get the desired results.

Find out more about the powerful benefits of mentoring in our guide. 


Ever heard the phrase ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’? Well, networking is one of the most important – and valuable – career progression tips.

It can open up new opportunities and introduce you to key people who will help your career in the long term.

The best thing is, networking no longer needs to be a headache because platforms like LinkedIn and mentoring software such as Guider, make it easy for anyone to meet other professionals in their industry.

A study in the USA found that people who network frequently receive better job offers than those who do not. So, if you’re not networking already, now’s the time to start!

Learning and development

Benjamin Franklin once said, “For the best, return on your money, pour your purse into your head“. It couldn’t be more accurate because learning and development opens so many doors for career progression.

Whether it’s going on training courses provided by your employer, or investing in new qualifications, when you expand your knowledge and develop your skills, the world is your oyster.

Taking a short course could result in that much-wanted promotion, and showing a commitment to personal development shows you’re a proactive employee.

Know your industry

Industries are moving at lightning speed today as technology continues to evolve and define how we live, communicate and work. Staying informed about what’s going on in your industry is essential for navigating your career path.

When you stay ahead of the curve, you can adapt to new technology and set yourself apart from other, less proactive employees.

What can I do as an employer?

Employers should also focus on providing employees with career progression opportunities because it increases productivity and boosts retention rates.

According to PR News Wire, a whopping 82% of employees would consider leaving their job if there were limited training and development opportunities, so employers need to be on the ball.

📖 Find out more about developing leaders with coaching and mentoring in our guide 📖

Employers should focus on providing their teams with regular training workshops, access to mentorship and allow each team member to develop their skills.

Providing mentoring for career development is a fantastic idea because you can utilise your top-performing employees to help less experienced team members learn on the job, resulting in higher productivity and profits.

Many employers are already benefitting from setting up a mentoring programme. Unfortunately, a lack of planning and understanding can cause mentoring programmes to fail.

Planning ahead and seeking specialist advice ensures you have a mentoring scheme that enhances retention rates and gives your team the training they deserve.

Find out more about setting up a mentoring programme in our guide. 

The wrap-up

There will be plenty of changes in the years to come as we begin to integrate our lives with AI and machine learning. By staying ahead of the curve and utilising every opportunity available, you can safe-proof your career and look forward to continued growth.

Whether you’re an employee or employer, focusing on career progression can result in financial security, enhanced retention rates and a more capable workforce.

Looking for more advice? With Guider, developing talent is made simple. Talk to our team today to find out more. 

Skills Development

Retain and Develop Your Engineers With Mentoring, Coaching and Sponsorship

Employee churn in engineering teams is a major headache for team leads.

With staff turnover in the IT industry greater than in any other sector (13.2%) and even higher for software engineers specifically (21.7%), this is not an isolated problem.

Hiring software developers and engineers costs money. Recruitment, developer onboarding and software developer training are not free and when your top employees churn you’re losing valuable knowledge, skills and morale. On top of this, many companies are grappling with a high risk of engineer burnout and an incredibly competitive hiring landscape.

With so many companies competing over pay and benefits, how do you attract, retain and develop top engineers?

This is where holistically developing your engineering team through learning and development comes into play. By utilising mentoring, coaching and sponsorship in your engineering team, you can go a long way to develop your engineers, retain talent and avoid burnout.

Find out more about embedding mentoring in your engineering team with Guider.

Why is turnover so high in engineering teams?

There are a number of reasons for this. The top reasons developers leave their jobs are cited as; seeking higher compensation, a lack of advancement in their current role, more career growth opportunities, and being unsatisfied with leadership.

This is bad news for company budgets with the average cost to replace a highly-skilled employee estimated at 213% of their annual salary. Given the competitive hiring landscape, many companies are struggling to compete to attract top talent.

Pay isn’t a magic fix, however. Even large companies such as Google and Amazon suffer from a median employee tenure of just a year. The problem is that unhappy engineers can easily be lured elsewhere by better compensation, but quickly experience the same struggles and burnout that they had before.

So, if higher pay isn’t the answer, then we can quickly see that engineering teams need a solution that addresses the other root causes of employee churn. It’s time to look at software developer training, developer onboarding and pastoral care.

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What tools can I use to develop my engineering team?

A key tool to prevent employee churn is learning and development. This is where mentoring, coaching and sponsorship play a key role (but more on that later!)

Often, engineers can feel as though they’re coding machines, expected to deliver high-quality results without being offered the pastoral and holistic care to help them develop. Utilising software developer training is an important way to develop your team.

There are two key ways that learning can become a core pillar in your retention strategy:

1:1 support in technical skills development

A major perk for attracting and retaining talent is providing 1:1 support. By pairing engineers with senior engineers for mentoring and skill development you can provide a key channel for continuous, collaborative learning in your team. This will also build relationships and networks.

1:1 support in holistic development

Through mentoring, coaching and sponsorship, you can provide support in wider holistic development. Because engineers are not just there to code. We all need a range of people and communication skills in order to progress in our careers. Whether you want to develop your team or inspire future leaders, providing the right development opportunities is essential.

When you support people to hone their technical and communication skills, build relationships, successfully navigate power structures and implement change in their organisation, it impacts not just their performance but how they feel at work.

Helping people to feel seen, heard and valued improves job satisfaction and engagement. This in turn affects retention, preventing employee churn. So, by offering core benefits focussing on learning and development you can tackle multiple areas at once.

download our mentoring, coaching and sponsorship e-bookHow do mentoring, coaching and sponsorship benefit and develop engineers? 

Mentoring, coaching and sponsorship are three great ways to support learning and development in your engineering team. They work to improve both technical skill sharing and holistic development.

The benefits of mentoring engineers

Mentoring is the act of helping another person by listening, giving guidance and sharing your experience. It’s a powerful personal development tool that is centred on human-to-human connection.

Find out more about mentoring in our Mentoring FAQs.

For engineering teams, mentoring has multiple benefits. As codebases change, engineers need to be constantly learning to keep their skills up to date. By pairing engineers with a senior mentor, they can share skills and knowledge, creating a culture of social learning.

Mentoring can also up-skill your team in other areas such as communication, leadership, networking and confidence-building. It provides relationships outside of line management in which your developers can build their wider skillset.

The good news is that we know mentoring improves retention rates, with 72% retention for mentees and 69% for mentors. It can be used as part of developer onboarding and software developer training to make sure your hires want to stay.

Find out how to start a mentoring program in this step-by-step guide.

The benefits of coaching engineers

Coaching is the practice of a trained coach working with groups or individuals to develop in specific areas. While it’s similar to mentoring, the main difference is that coaches do not need to have experience in what the coachee is going through to be effective.

Find out more about the difference between coaching and mentoring in our guide  

Coaches are focused on building wider skills through the tools and techniques they learn in training. By asking the right questions, they can help you to find a solution. Offering coaching to your engineers creates targeted learning opportunities that unlock your team’s potential.

This tool is great for developing communication and personal skills, showing your developers that they are valued for their whole selves, not just their knowledge.

Find out more about the different types of coaching in our guide. 

The benefits of sponsorship for engineers

Finally, sponsorship is when a more senior person, the sponsor, acts as a champion to someone more junior, the sponsee. They focus on opening doors and putting the sponsee forward for opportunities that they otherwise wouldn’t have access to.

A sponsor will go beyond the role of a mentor and actively provide their sponsee with opportunities for progression, promotion and more. Sponsorship has wide-ranging benefits for career progression, as individuals that may struggle to put themselves forward for opportunities have a channel to find further support.

It is also a powerful tool for diversity and inclusion. We know that there’s a diversity issue in the field, with women making up just 16.4% of the IT workforce. Done right, sponsorship programs are a fantastic way to break down systemic barriers to career progression for under-represented groups.

How do I implement mentoring, coaching and sponsorship?

That’s where we’re here to help! With our mentoring software, you can set up and scale programs in mentoring, coaching and sponsorship with ease.

Our easy-to-use platform connects developers with the right people that can help them to:

✅ Up-skill

✅ Build networks

✅ Find holistic support

Find out more in our guide: What is Mentoring Software.

We guide you through the whole process, from set-up and promotion to feeding back the ROI at the end of the program. The Guider platform is a secure and simple solution to embedding social learning in your company culture.

Implementing a mentoring, coaching or sponsorship program will lead to better retention, engagement and productivity, while also helping to prevent burnout. Your engineers are the backbone of your company. By proactively investing in their development, you can create a team that’s built to last.

Want to find out more about how we can help implement a mentoring, coaching or sponsorship program at your organisation? Book a chat with our team today! 

Skills Development

What Makes a Good Mentor?

Ever wanted to become a mentor?

It’s on a lot of our to do lists surely. Yet for many of us, identifying yourself as a mentor can feel… audacious. We get it.

Stepping into the role of the trusted advisor takes confidence. A common blocker is that many people just don’t see themselves as ready.

I mean mentors are older, grey-haired, all-knowing entities, right?


There are plenty of qualities that make you an excellent mentor beyond job title or years of experience.

In fact, you probably have most of these skills already. You just need to put them into practice by becoming a mentor!

So, what are the qualities you need to be a good mentor and how do you know if you make the cut?‍

What makes a good mentor?

You’re a great listener

Listening is not just a core characteristic of a great mentor but of a colleague, manager and leader.

As a mentor, a big part of your role is to create a space in which your mentee feels safe, validated and heard. While you will impart wisdom and advice, it’s important to remember that your job is to listen to your mentee first and foremost.

If you already count yourself as a great listener or are trying to grow in this area, becoming a mentor is a great way to do this.

Try practising the art of listening, validating and responding thoughtfully. It’s a key way to build positive relationships, show others that they are supported and prepare yourself for senior leadership in which listening is a key, yet underrated, skill.

You’re invested in others

Mentoring requires investment on both sides of the relationship to work. As the mentor, being able to commit time and energy to your mentee is essential.

If you’re someone that genuinely enjoys helping other people to learn and grow, and gets personal satisfaction from helping others in the process, then you could be a great mentor.

Investing in others also has profound benefits. Mentors report feeling less stress and anxiety than non-mentors, plus they often find a greater sense of meaning and satisfaction in their work.

Remember: It’s not just about the feel-good factor. Becoming a mentor ups your chances of promotion by 6 times and can increase your chances of a pay rise by 20%!

You have a growth mindset

Your job as a mentor isn’t only to give advice. There’s learning on both sides of the relationship. By adopting a growth mindset and an open mind, a mentor can benefit enormously from the relationship. This also ties into a commitment to continuous learning, an essential skill to foster.

Mentoring opens up your network to a range of different people and perspectives. Throughout the relationship, you will be working together to learn how best to achieve the development goals set out for the mentee. In order to do this, a mentor needs to stay flexible and attentive to how they too can adapt too.

Staying open-minded about what you can learn from your mentee will turn you from a good mentor, into a great one.

📖 These qualities are also important in a buddying system, find out more in our guide 📖

You’re respectful and responsive

Similarly, a good mentor is both respectful of others and responsive. Your mentee will bring with them their own life experience and perspective, the goal of a mentor is to help them grow and to do that you need to create space for them to be themselves and overcome limiting beliefs.

Respecting differences, whether it’s of opinion or life experience, creates the right environment for mentoring to work. Without this, the mentoring relationship would be negative and unproductive for both parties. Imagine sitting down with someone for a mentoring session only to find that they are disrespectful of your thoughts and opinions.

Respect and responsiveness are core skills needed as a manager and leader. Becoming a mentor is a great way to practice and nurture these important skills.‍

“Every day that you come into contact with different types of people and work through different challenges, issues, successes, you learn something. Every single time you have a conversation, you learn something about people’s behaviour, you learn something about their motivations, and you learn something about yourself…it’s rich, it’s rewarding…it’s a win-win.”James Newton-Brown, Head of Product Development at Marks & Spencer

Read more about our work with M&S here

You give quality feedback

We all know that feedback can be as tricky to give as it is to receive. But constructive, tactfully delivered feedback is essential for personal growth and development.

As a mentor, you need to be comfortable giving and receiving feedback so that both sides of the mentoring relationship can develop. Feedback isn’t a one size fits all process. There are many different tricks and techniques to doing it well, the key is to work with your mentee to find the right way to deliver constructive criticism.

Learning how to tactfully deliver and receive feedback is an essential skill. It’s also another vital skill in management and senior leadership positions. If this is a skill you have or are looking to grow, you might make an excellent mentor!

Hear first-hand from our fantastic clients Clyde & Co the benefits of becoming a mentor. Find out more:

You have relevant knowledge and experience

Last but not least, having relevant knowledge and experience that you can impart to a mentee is a must. But hold on before you think you need to be an expert in your field before you can become a mentor.

The point of a mentor is that you use your experience to guide others. This doesn’t mean having all the answers. Supporting someone to work things out for themselves is a more powerful way to learn than simply being told what to do.

As a mentor, you may have experiences that you don’t count as mentor ready yet. Completed a few rounds of appraisals? Managed a team? Successfully transitioned career? These are all skills that many people value and need advice on.

You don’t need 20 years of experience to become a great mentor, in fact, it can be more helpful to provide advice when you are closer to a specific problem or experience.

Remember: Knowing all the answers doesn’t necessarily make you a good mentor. Guiding someone to the right answer does!

📖 Find out more about how mentoring boosts employee wellbeing in our guide 📖

‍Becoming a great mentor isn’t about age or job title, it’s about your attitude and the skills you bring to the table. With some positive self-reflection, many more people will find that they have what it takes to become a mentor than they realised.

There are many different ways to mentor someone. For example, peer mentoring is an excellent way to develop your skills and confidence as a mentor before stepping into a traditional 1:1 relationship.

So, if you have some or all of these top traits then why not become a mentor today?

Looking to start a mentoring program? Talk to our expert guides today. 

Skills Development

10 Questions for Building Self-Awareness

Self-awareness is more than just a buzzword: it’s a lifelong skill that has huge benefits to your work and personal life.

It’s the practice of looking at yourself honestly, without judgment, for the purpose of understanding who you are. This affects not only how we feel but how we express ourselves to others and can make us better communicators.

When entering into a mentoring relationship, cultivating self-awareness will help both parties to make the most of the sessions. An understanding of yourself can reveal more clearly what your goals are and what’s standing in the way of achieving them, as well as what you are bringing to the sessions as a mentor.

Read more on the benefits of mentoring for learning and development with Guider.

So, to support the journey to greater self-awareness for you and your teams, we’ve put together 10 questions to get you started.

10 questions for developing self-awareness:

  1. What am I good at?
  2. What am I best at?
  3. What am I worst at?
  4. When does time flow for me?
  5. When do I feel bored?
  6. What are my values?
  7. When do I feel most energised?
  8. When have I felt successful?
  9. Where do I see myself in 5 years?
  10. What does support look like to me?

Remember to answer honestly. There are no right or wrong or good or bad answers to these questions. The goal is simply to learn more about yourself.

These questions are just a starting point, you may find you think of more or want to discuss these with a mentor or a friend. The point is to start thinking about who you are and how this relates to your professional and personal goals. Good luck!

Skills Development

How Failure Leads to Success

When we fail, why should we feel embarrassed about it? Why do we feel this overwhelming sense of regret and shame when we are faced with failure?

While most people view it as a step backward, it is actually a big step forward. Failure helps us learn and progress, and without it life would be rather stagnant. This article will focus on how failure actually leads to success…

How Did We Initially Learn About Failure?

From a young age, we are taught that failing is bad, and is something to fear. We may have felt embarrassed from raising our hands in school and getting the answer wrong, performing poorly on an assignment, or scoring below the passing grade on an exam. We are taught to avoid that feeling at all costs.

Developmental psychologists have conducted research on early childhood experiences of failure and what its effects are on adults’ levels of confidence. Psychologists have found that memories of failure that seem so meaningless now, could have negatively impacted the way we think and act. A student who gets embarrassed speaking in front of a classroom full of their peers may avoid public speaking for years until the fear is confronted.

We often find students living in educational environments where mistakes are forbidden. In such high-stress environments, mistakes are bound to happen! What these students do not know, is that failure is life’s greatest teacher. It is what shapes us to become the best versions of ourselves that we can be.

Find our more about the benefits of embedding mentoring in learning and development with Guider

Changing the Way We View Failure

Through a three-step process of Explore, Embrace and Excel, we can change the way we view failure from something deterring to something encouraging.

1. Explore:

Get outside of your comfort zone, venture the world as it is and live as boldly as you feel!

2. Embrace:

If you left your comfort zone and were faced with failure, embrace it knowing that it will be a valuable lesson in the future.

3. Excel:

Find the positive take-aways from your personal experiences of failure, and utilize them to fuel success.

Coping With Failure

First, acknowledge that failure is by no means the end of the world. Realize that failure is temporary, and that something good is happening here. It is also comforting to remember that your persistence and dedication to your goals will eventually be rewarded with success.

Every time you fail, you are learning, and you are growing. Recognizing this gets easier with repetition and practicing positive self-talk.

Practicing Routine Failing

Forbes has described “routine failing” to be something very beneficial when coping with failure. Routine failing means you are actively doing something to move forward and get outside of your comfort zone. When we remain still, we strictly limit ourselves in what we can achieve.

Routine failing means taking daily risks, like a task you are unsure if you can handle, ignoring negative thoughts and comments from yourself and others, and leaping into the unknown. Instead of overthinking for the purpose of avoiding failure, put that attentive energy into listening to your gut instinct.

Failure Runs in Every River

When we look up to someone as a role model or mentor, we picture them as being flawless. Our biggest role models and mentors had to face failure many times in order to get to where they are now. Discussing failure with a mentor helps to normalize the idea of failure, understanding that it is something experienced universally rather than individually.

Here is a great article on some famous individuals who refused to let failure overpower their drive for success!

Meet Resilience, Your New Best Friend

Resilience is what enables you to bounce back from a failure and keep going. There will always be certain moments in life where you feel as if you were knocked down, but resilience is there to empower you to stand back up.

Think about your failure and why you wanted to take that risk in the first place. Is this a job you had always dreamed of having? Remember what it felt like to get that job offer, despite if you felt unqualified applying.

No matter what the failure was, having resilience guarantees you learn the lesson and apply it to your future. Resilient people can be fearless and feel good about themselves even when they are not at their best. Their confidence is fuelled by their determination and, most importantly, their past failures.

Skills Development

The Importance of Positive Self-Talk

Practicing positive self-talk is more important now than ever. After the events of recent years, it can be difficult to stay aware of the world while keeping a positive outlook. Amidst listening to the news, we forget to listen to what we’re saying to ourselves.

The question is, how can we listen to the news and practice our self-talk simultaneously?

Practicing positive self-talk can be difficult, so Guider is here to help you to master the skill…‍

What is Self-Talk?

Self-talk is the running dialogue inside our heads. Our inner monologue consists of the things we say to ourselves both consciously and subconsciously. Sometimes, we talk through something step by step in our head, and other times we say things that are more hurtful than helpful.

It is the voice that speaks without giving it much attention, and it can actually have a bigger impact on us that we realize. What we say to ourselves subconsciously can directly impact how we feel and respond to a current situation. This can lead us to be held back by limiting beliefs.

What are the Benefits of Positive Self-Talk?

Positive psychology studies how we individually flourish through building a life of meaning, purpose and optimism. Researchers have found that positive self-talk can help immensely with work performance, learning, self-awareness, and managing anxiety.

1. Reduces stress

  • Positive thinkers utilize better coping strategies when faced with challenges
  • Positive self-talk reframes the way we look at stressful situations and how we can approach them → Going from “this is too difficult” to “I can do this!”

2. Boosts confidence

  • Having positive self-talk boosts self confidence because it helps to believe we are capable of achieving goals and believing in ourselves

3. Helps to build better relationships

  • People look up to their coworkers who are optimistic, as it helps people to collaborate and cooperate more effectively

How Do I Distinguish Negative Self-Talk from Positive Self-Talk?

The way psychologists distinguish negative and positive self-talk is by the tone that our inner monologue speaks in. Our brains are hardwired to remember negative experiences over those that are positive. By showing yourself more understanding and self-compassion, our brains can be rewired to think more positively.

For example, say that your supervisor asks you to redo an assignment you handed in. In that moment, what would you say to yourself in your head? Would you say something that is negative and deterring, or positive and reassuring?

  • Negative self-talk would say: “I’m so embarrassed that I didn’t do the assignment correctly. I feel like a total failure.”
  • Positive self-talk would say: “I’ll learn from my mistakes this time, and do a better job next time.”

Do you hear the difference between the two? Think about any times you have said something a bit harsh to yourself that you could have said more positively.

Turning Negative Self-Talk into Positive Self-Talk:

Practising effective strategies to turn negative self-talk into positive self-talk has proven to be successful. Here are some to help you:

Don’t be too harsh on yourself when things go wrong

  • Instead, analyze the situation as if you were talking your coworker through something that went wrong for them
  • We tend to be biased toward and harsher on ourselves

Failure is not the end of the world

  • Failure allows us to experience, learn and grow
  • Embrace failure when it happens!

Focus on the positive too, not just the negative

  • There are negatives and positives in every situation, so don’t only focus on negatives!

A Three-Step Guide to Positive Self-Talk:

1. Listen to what your inner monologue is saying:

  • Is it mostly positive or negative?
  • Would your close friends, coworkers or mentor talk to you in this way?

2. Learn what thoughts seem to be recurring.

  • Is there a common theme in your self-talk?
  • Think about what this might say about yourself, and why these thoughts might be coming up.
  • Is this negative self-talk stopping you from achieving your goals?

3. Replace the negative with the positive.

  • Switch gears from negative to positive by changing statements to be kinder.
  • For example, change “I can’t finish before this deadline” to “I’ll do my best job to finish on time, but I can only do the best I can.”
  • Really imagine how you would speak to a friend — often we speak harshly to ourselves and more kindly toward our friends.

Try this out with your mentor as an exercise!

What is the Connection Between Mentoring and Positive Self-Talk?

Mentoring and positive self-talk are very connected. When we improve our self-talk strategies, we are better able to connect with our mentors. Mentees with positive self-talk are more likely to have positive mentoring relationships because they are willing to work on their desired areas while not falling into a negative mindset.

Positive self-talk allows there to be an open channel of communication between a mentee and their mentor, leading to more success within and outside of the workplace. Try working with your mentor on improving your positive self-talk the next time you meet!

Read now: How To Run A Productive Mentoring Session

When is the Best Time to Practice Positive Self-Talk?

Given that we have more free time on our hands than we did before, now is the perfect time to practice positive self-talk. Guider strongly recommends that we take care of ourselves during this unthinkable time, and work on the things we usually do not have time to work on.‍

Skills Development

How to Set Goals and Actually Achieve Them

It’s all well and good saying you want to achieve something, but following through is the hardest part. However big your ambitions may be, one of the most effective ways of getting there is setting clear goals. In this guide, we’ll walk you through our top 5 ways to set goals and achieve them…

1. Set time-sensitive goals

When you set out to achieve something, it’s important to know when you want (and expect) to have achieved it by. Whether it’s the end of the week, in 6 months, or in 2 years, you must always put a timeline with each goal to give you a realistic chance.

You can then group your goals into micro, short term, and long term categories. Here are some examples of common goals and their timelines:

Micro goals (in the next few days)

  • Tidy your room
  • De-clutter and organise your work station
  • Do that thing you’ve been putting off
  • Get a personal best in a run or workout
  • Ask your manager for feedback

Short term goals (in the next 6 months)

  • Network more
  • Stop procrastinating and improve productivity
  • Learn a skillset from a colleague / mentor
  • Increase the number of days you exercise per week

Long term goals (6 – 12 months)

  • Get a promotion
  • Become a subject matter expert
  • Get an additional qualification or certificate
  • Win an internal recognition award

Long term goals can then be broken down into micro or short term goals to make them more achievable! Another way to reach your longer term goals will be to establish good habits, which leads us on to our next tip…

2. Identify the difference between goals and habits

When thinking about micro or daily goals, you may find yourself actually thinking about developing good habits.

A goal is something that you work towards and achieve, such as running a marathon, or writing a book. Whereas a habit is a repeated learned behaviour that becomes routine. ‘Drink more water’, ‘get up on your first alarm’, and ‘take the stairs’ might seem like good personal goals to set yourself, but really they are good habits you want to develop.

This is an important differentiation when setting your goals, as habits require a different process to achieve. Habits and goals are both important, and often achieving one can help you achieve another. For example, if you have a weight loss goal, developing a habit of healthy eating or exercising will be a good place to start. Equally, you may set yourself a goal of making something a habit, such as ‘In three months’ time, I will be in the routine of stretching as soon as I wake up’.

Want tips on developing good habits? This gives some great insight.

3. Make a mentor accountable

If you don’t share your goals with anyone, life will find excuses and you’ll most likely drop them, as no one will know. Sharing them with someone is proven to change that dramatically.

In fact, research has found that you’re 70% more likely to achieve a goal if you’ve shared it with a mentor first. (Source)

At Guider, we’re familiar with the importance of mentorship. Having a mentor can increase confidence, self-assuredness, motivation, aspiration, communication skills and more. But it’s important you know why you want a mentor, and what you’re hoping to have gained or achieved from the relationship. When you become a mentee on Guider, you’re able to set goals and timelines for those goals. Your mentor will automatically be able to see this so they can hold you accountable, increasing the chance of achieving your goals.

If you don’t work in a large company that has an internal mentoring scheme, it can be hard to gain access to mentorship. Mentoring marketplaces help connect you with mentors to support with goal setting and business advice.

There are plenty of people out their with the skills to support you in your development – you sometimes just need a platform to help you find them.

Need inspiration? Read our 10 personal and career development goals

4. Always visible, always in writing, always well phrased

In order to regularly review your goals, they must be written down. The act of writing out goals also helps you formulate them into something tangible. Don’t just take our word for it, research has shown that goals are 40% more likely to be achieved if they are written down. (Source)

If you don’t write your goals down, life will get in the way and new circumstances could change your goal perception. While it’s important to be flexible, you don’t want your priorities to shift to the point you forget how important a goal once was to you.

Don’t forget the importance of the language we use, even to ourselves! It’s crucial to phrase your goals correctly, being specific and assured. For example:

  • Don’t write ‘I will do more do more exercise’, but write: ‘I will increase my weekly exercise by 2 sessions a week with a minimum of 30 mins a session’.
  • Don’t write, ‘Learn more skills’, but write, ‘I will find a mentor in another department and learn a skill that they hold and then master it for myself’.

Tip: Use language like ‘I will’ instead of ‘I would like’

5. Set goals that motivate you and align with your purpose

People often set generic goals because that’s the easier thing to do. But we’re all different, with different personalities and motivations, so it’s best to set goals that are highly specific to you.

If you’re finding the goals you’re setting just not sitting right with you, they’re most likely not right for you.

The point here is that you will much more likely succeed if you set a goal that aligns with your personality, interests and belief systems.

At the end of the day, setting and achieving goals is meant to be fun and rewarding, so do something you actually want to do, not something you just feel you should do.

Finally – stick with it!

Setting and achieving goals is not just about the result, it’s all about the journey. If you stick with it, you can create a life whereby your goals (and good habits) are ingrained into your daily activities.

Read more on personal development with Guider: 

How to Set and Achieve Long-Term Goals

How Failure Leads to Success

Supercharge Career Progression With These Top Tips

5 Steps to Perfecting Your Career Progression Plan

The Importance of Overcoming Limiting Beliefs

Top Characteristics of a Mentor