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Redefining the Mentoring Relationship

By: Kathy Wentworth Drahosz and Alison Sfreddo

Think for a moment about your current mentoring relationship and how it can evolve after the formal program comes to a close.  All good things do not need to come to an end and the mentoring relationship is no exception.  When you have made the investment to build a formal mentoring connection with your mentoring partner, there should be no reason for the relationship to come to a complete halt.  

The key is to make the commitment to keep the connection. Although communications may be less frequent, explore ways to continue the partnership and friendship you created. The following are three things you can do to successfully redefine your mentoring relationship:   

  1. First acknowledge and celebrate what you learned.  When you first started this journey with your mentoring partner, you started with a goal or objective and created a plan for something you wanted to learn, develop or change.  Share what you both know now that you did not know before. Acknowledge what you both have gained, celebrate your successes and say Thank You!  Gratitude is a wonderful gift.
  2. Explore how you plan to stay in contact. After your mentoring partnership comes to a formal close, plan to have one more mentoring conversation.  Be sure to make the commitment to keep connected and share your contact information. Make it a point to update your mentor on promotions, transitions, or increased responsibilities they may have influenced. Even asking questions from time to time helps keep the connection strong. As your mentor becomes a part of your own professional network, you will want to look for opportunities to keep them on your radar screen. Sending periodic emails, articles or book recommendations is another great way to keep in touch.
  3. Continue the good work of mentoring—pay it forward. The best way to return the investment of your mentor’s time is with a little investment of your own in someone else. Think of a way you can pass on what you have gained to someone who could benefit from your help.  That is a great way to honor the person who made a difference in your life. The best "thank you” a mentor can receive is not only to have you acknowledge what you have learned… but to pass it on!

Professional connections are so important in career progression. What better way to move forward than to have a trusted ally and friend in you corner for the long term!

This article was published in The Training Connection, Inc.'s April 2015 Newsletter.

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