Reviewing the mentoring relationship

by Prof David Clutterbuck

It is good practice to review your mentoring relationship at regular intervals. This will ensure you keep a check on how the relationship itself is working and on what progress is being made on achieving the objectives you set at the outset (and how those objectives may have changed).

Ideally, a first review would take place after the second or third meeting with a focus on how the relationship is working. This is a good check point as it allows a discussion to open out if either of you feel things aren’t working.

Some questions you might ask at this point are:
1. Are we meeting sufficiently frequently?
2. Are these meetings long enough?
3. Are we both adhering to the original commitments we made to each other?
4. Have we built enough rapport?
5. What do we need to change to make our time together more effective?
6. Do we both have confidence that we will achieve our goals?

It is good practice to revisit these questions as often as you both feel is appropriate – but every 3-4 meetings is a good guide.

As you progress in the relationship, you may also like to add in further questions with some more related to reviewing your goals and others that focus on the quality of your conversations.
1. Do we feel we’re making real progress in the relationship?
2. Where have the mentoring sessions helped so far?
3. Are we preparing adequately for meetings?
4. Are we reflecting sufficiently after meetings?
5. What are our thoughts in terms of this relationship around:
a. Trust and rapport
b. Challenge of each other
c. Depths of our discussions
d. Management of boundaries
e. Openness and honesty

It is also a good idea to build an element of review into each meeting and this is something that it is good to agree as part your original working agreement. A good suggestion is to check in with regard to the following:
1. What % of the talking did both of you do? Ideally the mentor does 20%, the mentee 80%
2. Who asked the questions? Good practice is that the mentor should be asking most of the questions.
3. Who found the solutions? This should be the mentee with support from the mentor.
4. Where was the power? Ideally, there should be no power felt, but that you are on equal terms
5. What should either of us do more of/less of?
6. What do we need to change to make this more effective?