The four phases of a mentoring relationship

Author: Thrive!

If you haven’t already joined the Thrive! Mentoring program, considering signing up today! We all have something to offer one another and a mentoring relationship is a great way to support one another.

The mentoring process is a win-win for both mentor and mentee. The mentee learns from the mentor’s experience, insight, and guidance; the mentor shares their expertise while gaining a sense of purpose and accomplishment. Through the process, each person stands to learn something about themselves too

To facilitate the optimum mentoring partnership, we suggest following a four-phase process: 

1.    Preparing the Relationship
2.    Negotiating
3.    Enabling Growth
4.    Coming to a Closure

This article focuses on the second phase, Negotiating. As a mentor pair, here are some questions or steps to help you think through the negotiating phase of the partnership.

Negotiate the following: 

1.    How much time can you each commit to the relationship on a regular basis? Be realistic and honest with yourselves. 
2.    Write down goals and analyze them to meet the SMART criteria. 
3.    Agree on a discussion format, e.g., Will you have formal agendas, topic-driven agendas, check-in conversations, etc.? 
4.    Use a journal to help stay focused, monitor progress, and capture follow-up items. 
5.    Establish any ground rules (e.g., confidentiality, boundaries, and “hot topics”). 
6.    Be flexible! Expectations and plans will change as your relationship progresses. 
7.    Evaluate progress, milestones, and goals regularly. 
8.    Learning styles are important; identify and discuss what denotes successful learning to each person. 
9.    Articulate criteria for success. What does success “look” like?  

The negotiation process helps both mentor and mentee make the most of their time together, and ensures that both parties feel comfortable going forward. Enjoy the process!