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5 ways to save a mentoring relationship that has stalled

After facilitating over 5000+ mentoring matches, we’ve seen the highs and lows of mentoring relationships. Sometimes people lose interest. They don’t sustain relationships. There are obvious and not so obvious reasons. 

So, we’ve come up with 6 tried-and-tested ways to revive a mentoring relationship that has stalled. Depending on the style of your mentoring relationship, you might wish to tackle one or all of these:

1. Rediscover that all important ‘drive’

This one is about motivation, or knowing your ‘why’ (not anyone else’s). It’s easier to be enthusiastic when you know what drives you and what you want. It also makes it easier to set goals – if you’re already a gun at this, congratulations! Head on to step 2.

Mentors: By now you’ve already gotten to know your mentee. It’s time to poke around, help them discover their purpose, their ikigai*, their passions.
(*What’s an ikigai I hear you say –  it’s a Japanese concept that looks at an individual’s “reason for being.” It’s pretty cool, check it out)

Mentees: Before your next catch-up with your mentor, take some time to reflect. You might not know what the next step for you personally or professionally is, but you can work on your current motivations. Figure out what is important to you now, what will be in a few months or where you might want to be next year, or the one after that.

2. Focus on the Process

We’re big on goal-setting at Mentorloop. That’s one reason why we have smart, goal-setting features integrated into our platform.

But mentoring is not only about setting and achieving goals. I mean, set goals – set SMART ones at that – but for real success, it’s about the classic:  journey, not the destination.

Get comfortable with knowing that how you go about things, is better than the outcome. The results can be seen for both mentee and mentor – for eg. when a mentor talks a mentee through leadership scenarios and events, they are naturally forced to hold up a mirror to their own behaviour and leadership style.

Enter, the mastery mindset. A sum of all parts, it explores three key ideas: knowing, doing and living.

        1. Knowing. The most dangerous words to us all, are: I know that. As soon as we utter those words, we subtly but sharply close ourselves off from being open to learning more. There is always room for more. Stay curious.  
        1. Doing is acting upon what we now know and applying what we have learned. We can will the world away but we won’t see a change unless we apply our learnings.
      1. Living is applying what we now know and succeeding at it. Here, experience and practice make perfect. So be gentle, give yourself some time.

It’s easy to look at highly successful people and assume it happened overnight. For a lucky few, this may be the case, but for the majority, it’s a product of hard work, determination and falling in love with the process.

Mentors: Work with your mentee to identify things to improve on during the mentoring relationship that can make it better. Be attitude and gratitude skewed.

Mentees: Stay focussed on the direction, not the endpoint. Discuss with your mentor, ways you can work on your mindset. 

3. Don’t Worry About Being the Best

Be the best at getting better.

Push all of your goals down a notch, because your number one goal should be this.

Living productively with passion is living a life of ongoing growth and development. When people believe they can get smarter, they understand that effort makes them stronger. Therefore they put in extra time and effort, and that leads to higher achievement – without the worry! 

When we focus on what we really want, our goals stop being about striving for achievement and more just about becoming part of you – for eg. Do you swim to win races, or are you a swimmerDo you cook to sell food, or are you a chef?  When this way of viewing yourself changes, it’s easier to hang onto those passions long-term.

Mentors: You don’t need to know everything as a mentor – share your experience rather than advice.

Mentees: Strive for better. When you strive for ‘better’ all your failures and successes are temporary because you will forever improve, given more time and more practice.

4. Embracing failure increases your gains

We have 650 muscles that are built to work hard. But when we exercise they hurt, for days (…or is that just me?). But they eventually recover and they’re stronger for it.

Get growing. Get uncomfortable. It’s time to put yourself out there.

Mentors: Introduce your mentee to someone from your network that can help push them outside their comfort zone by seeing a new perspective, share an experience or simply show them what that ‘next level’ looks like. 

Mentees: Even if it’s scary, appreciate this opportunity and go for it. You’ve had practice with your current mentor, you might end up meeting another one and build that personal advisory board

5. Right Here. Right Now. 

Being present in all ways is important. In some ways, building strong relationships needn’t be dissimilar to building any other strong relationship.

So take away the phone, put it in your pocket (a phone ‘upside down’ on the table doesn’t count). Aim to be deliberate in your meetings and catch-ups and if things are slowing down, try setting an agenda for your next meeting.

Mentor: your mentee requires your presence

Mentee: your mentor requires your presents – mentoring should never be a paid gig, buy them a coffee once and a while!


Right. You’ve come a long way, baby. 
(Fatboy slim is still cool, right?)

If you too would like to start a culture of mentoring in your organisation, why not have a chat with one of our friendly mentoring specialists, today!

Start a culture of mentoring today

Emily Ryan

Em is our Marketing Manager at Mentorloop. That's a lot of 'm's! | She is passionate about crafting messages, crafternoons and craft beer.

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bob bishop

your tips are very helpful