by Helen Moulsley

The ongoing mentoring relationship

The primary responsibility for progressing the mentoring relationship lies with the mentee. However, both the mentor and the mentee have a role to play throughout the relationship.

The deal for the mentor is to honour the terms of the contract:

  • Achievement of agreed objectives and review of outcomes
  • Attending the agreed meetings and not rescheduling
  • Following through on any actions agreed
  • Respecting confidentiality
  • Exercising skills, such as listening, giving feedback and coaching the mentee to arrive at their own solutions
  • As the mentoring relationship progresses, the mentee will increase in confidence, becoming more self assured and beginning to come up with solutions for themselves; your role as mentor is to step back and adapt your style with them as they progress.

For the mentee:

  • You own the relationship and you should continue to be proactive; this is a good opportunity to practice your management skills, ensuring that the terms of the contract are adhered to and that your scheduled meetings take place
  • You should undertake to ensure that the objectives you jointly agreed at the first meeting are being worked towards; it’s your responsibility to track the outcomes
  • As you grow in confidence and experience, your relationship with your mentor should change, with you taking more of a lead and lessening any dependency you may have on the mentor
  • Your aim should be to move towards closure on the formal mentoring relationship, thus avoiding the risk of dependency on your mentor; you may, however, agree to continue informally, albeit acting more as the equal you have become
  • Finally, think about what you can do to make a contribution back to your mentor (see Benefits for the mentor).