During a recent workshop on ‘Becoming a Mentor’ I was asked by one of the participants about ending a mentoring relationship. She felt there was plenty of learning about establishing the relationship but not enough on finishing.
It’s a good question. Because all mentoring relationships must eventually end. After all the reason for helping another is to ensure they reach a stage where he or she needs to move on. Your mentee may now be ready to become a mentor to someone else or you may feel that you have given everything you can to the relationship. Sometimes this takes place gradually but it does need to be discussed openly. If you have been careful to outline your approach to finishing the relationship in your initial mentoring contract it will be easier to handle when the time comes.
As a relationship like this has taken time to grow so it needs time to end. An important step is to look back over the intervening months/years and review the relationship.
What were the initial goals? How have they changed and why? What problems or issues have been tackled and how has that impacted on your mentee’s growth and current position.
What was valuable about the relationship? What processes worked and from that learning what could be taken into another mentoring relationship for either party?
There should be a celebration and recognition of possible feelings of loss. An agreement made on the way forward will also help with closure. I know of a number of mentors who have remained in contact with their mentee socially and others who have simply called a halt to the arrangement. The choice will be up to the two of you to decide how you will manage it.