In a formal mentoring program, there is a set beginning and a set end to the mentoring relationship. Since mentors and mentorees are asked to make a commitment for a period of time, once that period of time is over, both participants need to be released from any further commitment. They also need to be provided with a process for formally ending their relationship as well as determining if they wish to continue informally. Without such a process, bad endings and hurt feelings may occur. Formally ending the relationship is just as important as other mentoring skills that are taught to the mentoring pair.
So what’s involved in formally ending your mentoring relationship?
1. Each participant provides feedback to his/her partner about the experience with the mentoring relationship. For example:
- What worked best?
- What was our most challenging meeting/event?
- What could we have done differently?
2. Discuss any remaining work that is being done to bring closure to that work or bring it to completion.
3. Both partners need to share with each other whether they wish to continue the relationship when the formal relationship ends. Not every relationship will continue for very good reasons. For example:
- The mentor may wish to participate in the corporate program again and, therefore, doesn’t have the time to commit;
- As a sign of independence, the mentoree may wish to detach from the mentor.
4. If the pair is going to continue, there needs to be a discussion about expectations going forward. For example:
- Will we still meet as often as we have been?
- Will we have an agenda?
- What will be the focus of our relationship?
No matter what they decide, it is important that mentoring pairs go through this process of bringing closure to their formal mentoring relationship. For more information on mentoring skills, please feel free to download for FREE resource Creating A Successful Mentoring Relationship: Training Tips and Tricks.Image Credit: © Robert Kneschke | Dreamstime.com