How to End a Mentoring Relationship

The Express Blog has launched a new series called The Value of Mentorship for leaders and job seekers. This is part 10 of the 12-part series, so check back for new weekly installments! 

Relationships can be challenging, and mentorships are no different. There can be a variety of reasons why a mentorship may end: completion of mentoring goals, mismatched mentor/mentee, or time to go separate ways. Regardless of the situation, here’s how to successfully end your mentoring relationship on a good note.

1. Completion of Mentoring Goals
Many mentoring relationships have durations established at the outset with specific goals in place. Mentorship usually comes to a natural end when all goals are met to satisfaction.

2. Reflect on the Experience
No matter if you are the mentor or mentee, both parties can take away valuable experiences. If you’re a mentee, look back on what you have gained from your time with your mentor and whether your needs have been met. Review your accomplishments and consider what you might want to achieve going forward. If you’re the mentor, reflect on the experience by reviewing the success of the mentoring relationship and what you can do going forward to improve your mentoring skills. Reflection allows for both participants to evaluate their next steps.

3. Communicate Openly and Honestly
There’s no denying that the key to a thriving mentoring relationship is one where communication is clear and honest. However, this doesn’t just matter for the duration of the mentoring relationship but is essential when it comes to ending it. When mentoring relationships end, the mentee and mentor need to talk openly and honestly about their thoughts and feelings regarding the relationship. Feedback needs to be provided tactically, with each party respecting the other’s feelings. It doesn’t matter if your mentoring relationship has come to an end due to goals being accomplished or whether it’s just not a good match, never leave your mentor or mentee in the dark when ending a mentoring relationship.

3. Provide Closure and Future Support

Closure is an essential component to effectively ending a mentoring relationship. Before ending it, you must ensure that all loose ends are tied up, with any duties or tasks addressed and the necessary resources and documentation needed to move forward. It’s also important to state how both parties feel about additional support. Whilst some mentors and mentees might not plan to stay in touch after their relationship ends, if it was successful, then we highly recommend that you do. If you agree to remain in touch, discuss things such as occasional check-ins, connecting through professional networks, and future support options as a way of having a professional relationship outside of the mentoring framework. This is particularly important for the mentee as it shows they can have continued guidance and support if needed.

4. Celebrate Success
To make sure that the mentoring relationship ends on a positive note, the mentor and mentee should celebrate the success. If you’re a mentor, make a list of all the skills, knowledge, and milestones your mentee has accomplished throughout your relationship. If you’re a mentee, write down how your mentor was able to have a positive impact on your growth. Celebrating the success creates a lasting impression and leaves both parties with a sense of accomplishment.

5. Say Thank You
Show appreciation to your mentor or mentee. Saying thank you goes a long way, and it shows you respect and acknowledge each other’s contributions to the mentoring relationship. It’s essential to pay respect and show gratitude when ending a mentoring relationship due to the amount of time and effort that goes into building a successful mentoring connection. This appreciation will help things end on an optimistic note, which is something to always strive for with your mentor or mentee.

Interested in reading more articles on mentorship? Check out previous posts from the Express Blog’s Value of Mentorship series:

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