Here are some notes on the last stage of the peer mentoring process…
The closure phase of the mentoring relationship often presents a challenge to the individuals involved in the mentoring process. Hence, it is important to draw close attention to this phase – and plan it carefully.
The closure phase of the mentoring process offers the opportunity for growth and reflection – regardless of whether the relationship between mentor and mentee has been positive or not.
So… Good closure should help your mentee and you move into a new stage.
It is important that both mentor and mentee ‘let go’. According to Jon Kabat-Zinn (1994, p.53), ‘Letting go means just what it says. It’s an invitation to cease clinging to anything – whether an idea, a thing, any event, a particular time or view or desire’. ‘Letting go’ is particular problematic when neither partner knows how to or has had a lack of experience in letting go. So… It is important to make it clear when the end of the relationship has arrived – and discuss the inevitability of the situation (even if the mentoring programme has a fixed end date). In the last meeting, this means rather than stating ‘call me any time’ you might simply say ‘I wish you well’.
Be pro-active rather than re-active. Don’t wait for the last day to arrive.
Discuss and plan how you will come to closure.
If the agreed time period for the relationship has come to an end or you think the time has come for the mentoring to end, tell your mentee.
Together with your mentee(s) look back over the time and discuss what went well and what you might do differently another time.
Set ground rules for having the discussion – so constructive feedback is possible. No blame game.
Never assume. Remember that there are two partners in the relationship. Do you know how your mentee feels – what he/she thinks of the mentoring/your relationship?
Discuss next steps… And set some goals for the future.
And… Don’t forget to celebrate what you have achieved together.
Also… Review your own personal goals and objectives.
Ask yourself what you have learned – and where you want to go from here.
How far have we come?
What was/were your mentee/you hoping for from the programme/the relationship?
What worked well?
Are there things that could have been done differently?
What would have been even better if…
What was the most challenging?
What worked really well?
What are the lessons learned – for both your mentee and you?
What gains have been made by your mentee/you as a mentor?
What can your mentee/you take from this experience?
Are there any areas of new learning that may contribute to your mentee’s/your future professional career?
Are there any learning needs that need to be addressed in the future?
Kabat-Zinn, J. (1994) Wherever you go, there you are: Mindfulness mediation in everyday life, New York: Kaplan.
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