Just as there are different seasons in life, there are also different seasons in mentoring. The transition season can be one of the most difficult because it’s a season of change. Transitioning your relationship can mean that you increase or decrease your meeting times, change the the topic you are discussing, or even end the formal relationship. Whatever the next step, don’t hesitate to change things up.
Bottom line…don’t continue to mentor a person because you feel bad, don’t keep the relationship on a surface level when you know it needs to go deeper and don’t be afraid of changing the purpose of the relationship all together. When it’s time to transition out of meeting together, this can be the most exciting but also the most awkward. To make it easier, talk about this season in the beginning.
When you first start meeting, set a time frame, like 6 months, for when you both will revisit and evaluate the relationship. This opens up an opportunity down the road to address how the relationship is going and if anything needs to change. There are many reasons that can bring you to a point of transition, but all of them gives you, as the mentor, the opportunity to pour into the mentee one last time.
In preparing to wrap up your time together, start by communicating why and when the relationship is needing to end. Lastly, you need to help them with their next steps. Next steps can include things such as helping them identify another mentor to meet with, suggesting books they can read, getting them connected with a counselor, or making sure they have a strong, godly community around them.
No matter what season of mentoring you find yourself in, know this, each one is full of amazing growth. Yes, it will be hard. Yes, it will be challenging. And, yes, it will change your life forever. Go be a mentor!
So, time has gone by and we’ve experienced lots of life together! Thank you for the time you’ve given me. I will forever appreciate it.
Now, currently my mentor and I are still meeting and it’s long past the 6-month mark. We re-evaluated after 6 months and, with my new marriage, decided that it was still a good season for both of us to keep meeting. This might change in a week, month, or several months, but for right now, I’m grateful to have someone who is honest with me and who will part ways or change directions with me if I need to. I’ve had mentors and mentees in the past whose relationship isn’t consistent or even existent anymore…but I’m thankful for all of them.
Mentors, whatever time you and your mentees have together, know that you will leave a mark on their lives, you followed God’s calling, and they will probably leave a beautiful mark on your life too. Go be a mentor!