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How to conclude a mentoring relationship

  • Omer Usanmaz
  • April 7 2022



At one point, a mentoring relationship will naturally come to end.  Some mentoring relationships have a pre-set end date arranged, however, there are many reasons to why a mentoring relationship may prematurely come to an end. Below are a few reasons that may help you gauge when it is time to end the engagement: 

  • You have met the goals originally set out.
  • The relationship is not meeting the goals that you have set out. Or you are no longer seeing progress. 
  • One party continuously fails to commit to the relationship as agreed.
  • A series of unproductive meetings.

Sometimes an unproductive mentoring relationship needs to come to an end to invest in one that will take you to the next level. Regardless of the reasoning behind ending a mentoring relationship, it should be concluded in an honest, professional, and respectful manner. 

How to conclude a mentoring relationship 

When it is time to end the mentoring relationship, you can follow this 3-step plan for a smooth and graceful conclusion. It will help both parties gain closure, as well as memorialise lessons learned.    

Reflect on the mentorship: 

  • Review the goals set throughout the mentoring relationship, and the progress made. What did you both learn? Did the mentee meet their developmental goals established at the start of the relationship? 
  • Here, it is also beneficial to gain feedback from one another. You could discuss what contributed to the success of the relationship, the obstacles you encountered, and what you would do differently in future mentoring relationships. 

Talk about the future/next steps: 

  • Discuss the next steps that both parties will make upon concluding the mentorship.
  • Following the discussions in the reflection step, will the mentee need to adjust new goals? Could the mentor offer any advice on this? 
  • Here is a good time to consider whether you will keep in touch. You may even consider having a conversation around informal mentoring, and whether this is something that you would both be interested in. 

Say Thanks

  • Thank each other and acknowledge each other’s contributions. Showing gratitude is important in ending a mentoring relationship, as you have both put a lot of time and effort into the relationship. 
  • Simply saying thank you is a good way to let someone know that you appreciate them and their time (regardless of the length and depth of the mentoring relationship). It is also a nice way to end the relationship on a positive note, as you never know – you may cross paths again in the future. 

Concluding a mentoring relationship is just as important as the start of the relationship. It can be hard ending a positive mentoring relationship. No one likes endings. However, it is important to be aware when a relationship is no longer serving your goals and potentially hindering your success. 

Take this final session as an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the mentee and thank the mentor for the assistance and energy they have given. Remember, circumstances change, and you may find yourself working together in the future, so it doesn’t have to be goodbye forever – simply, goodbye for now. 

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