Relationship Stages in a Meaningful Mentoring Relationship

The Power of Mentoring in a Post-Pandemic Community

Youth value meaningful relationships with significant adults in their lives, people who will be empathetic, non-judgmental, caring, compassionate and encouraging, able to speak to the potential the young person might not be seeing for any number of reasons. In the post-pandemic global community, mentors should express great patience and kindness towards young people, many of whom have been significantly impacted by the Covid-19 on their personal and family relationships. Increased anxiety among youth has been identified by many professionals and researchers in recent years. It is likely that even more youth will display these signs in the post-pandemic season. So, an awareness of proven ways to communicate with youth will probably quicken the critical connection between the mentor and young person.

Most mentor programs acknowledge that there are a number of stages that the mentoring relationship experiences. I can vouch for these stages from my experiences mentoring and coaching over 1000 youth. These stages, generally, include:


Stage 1: Getting to know each other

  • Getting to know each other’s families
  • Building foundations of trust and respect
  • Doing fun things together
  • Setting some specific, realistic, easily achievable and measurable goals
  • Planning meeting times
  • Setting the boundaries of the relationship
  • Sensitively breaking down any barriers that might be evident in the relationship
  • Some important questions for the mentor to be seeking answers to at this stage, might include:
    • Where did my mentee come from?
    • Where does my mentee wish to go?
    • What does my mentee need now?
    • What is my mentee good at?
    • What options are open to my mentee with these skills?
    • How can I help my mentee develop and extend these skills?

Stage 2: Achieving goals

  • Formation of a closer emotional bond
  • Doing more fun things together (with the mentee perhaps selecting more of these)
  • Setting and achieving some s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g goals
  • Understanding that the relationship might experience high and low points, yet willingly working through such times
  • Seeking ongoing support and encouragement from program staff, other mentors, other resources
  • Affirming the uniqueness of the relationship
  • Remaining committed to the relationship
  • Encouraging the mentee to develop relationships with other significant adults

Stage 3: Closure

  • Acknowledgment of the effect of the goal setting process
  • Where possible, helping the mentee plan for the future
  • Doing fun things together
  • Preparing for the formal conclusion of the mentoring contract in a healthy, affirming and respectful way
  • Reviewing and reflecting on the high points and the low points of the relationship
  • Discussing options for staying in touch in the future
  • Celebrating the mentoring journey!