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To anyone who wants to gain a foundation in mentoring, and managers and team leaders who want to develop or refine their mentoring skills.



Mentoring at

How to end a mentoring relationship

Ideally, relationships end because the participants have achieved all of their objectives. However, in some cases, you need to end the mentoring relationship prematurely. As a mentor, you must be honest with your mentee and act when the relationship isn't working. Sometimes, the relationship has to end simply because of a change of circumstances.

During the course of mentoring relationships, program coordinators should monitor their progress. They may realize from formative assessments that a relationship isn't working. Mentors should also be aware of the organization's processes or policy regarding how to handle these situations. They should explain all this clearly to the mentee at the outset.

The organization should also try to ensure that there are no repercussions for participants if they feel the relationship needs to be dissolved.

End points are often laid out in the organization's mentoring program. At the start of the relationship, you will have set objectives with your mentee about what you want to achieve. You should also make clear that the relationship will have to end and that you both need to keep this in mind throughout the program.


It's important for mentors to explain to mentees that the end will probably be when the objectives are met or when the mentee has passed a certain milestone.

You should also have agreed on the methods you'll use to assess whether these objectives have been met throughout the relationship. As you approach the end, you and the mentee should both be assessing the mentee's progress as well as how close the mentee is to becoming fully independent.

Having a definite end point can provide greater focus during the program and provide closure at the end of the program.

Planning an exit strategy

  • Ensure that you clearly define objectives at the beginning of the relationship

  • Ensure that you make it clear to your mentee at the outset that the relationship must end

  • Agree with the mentee at the outset when the relationship will end – for example, it could be when objectives are met or at the end of a certain time period

  • Agree with the mentee at the start of the relationship that either of you may dissolve the relationship prematurely if you feel it's not working as intended

  • Agree with your mentee what will happen if the relationship needs to be dissolved early.



Ending the relationship professionally


  • Prepare for the end meeting by comparing the outcomes of the relationship to the original objectives 

  • Arrange a meeting with the mentee to review four key areas:

    • The outcomes of the relationship in terms of new knowledge, skills, and behaviors

    • What the relationship didn't deliver

    • What, if any, kind of informal relationship you would both like to maintain after the end

    • Areas for possible further mentoring in the future from other mentors

Mentors should meet with mentees at the end to review successful outcomes, lessons learned for the future, and what didn't go well. Mentors might also discuss the possibility of maintaining an informal relationship after the end and areas the mentee might benefit from further mentoring in the future from other suitable mentors.

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