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  • Catherine Hodgson


Updated: Sep 7, 2021


Your mentoring relationship is core to your mentoring experience. Relationship droop is also a reality, where it just feels stale or maybe neglected, and needs a boost. To keep your relationship healthy, it’s a good idea to continually review it throughout your mentoring journey.

Although the relationship may seem good to you, perhaps it is not going so well for your mentoring partner. Best practice is to have an open and honest conversation with each other after the second meeting, then every third or so meeting. However, if it really is not going well for you, then have that conversation sooner.


If you have spent the time building rapport and trust with your mentoring partner, then having that open and honest conversation is a whole lot easier.

To start the conversation, you may want to add it to your agenda, right at the beginning of the meeting.

You can even send a few questions for both of you to reflect on before your meeting, such as:

  • What is going well in our relationship?

  • Do I think that I am meeting the expectations of my mentor/mentee as discussed in our first meeting?

  • Is my mentor/mentee meeting my expectations?

  • What would I like more of and less of from my mentor/mentee?

  • Are we able to have an open and honest dialogue?

In the meeting, you could start by saying to your mentoring partner “Is now a good time to review our relationship to check if we are meeting each other’s expectations?”

Asking permission first or putting it onto the agenda will ensure the other person is more open to receiving feedback.


It is always good to start with the positive feedback first. Ask the other person, what they think is going well in the relationship. Let them know what you think is going well. Share what you are getting out of the mentoring journey, what you are learning and what you enjoy about it.

Then look at what needs to be improved or worked on. Take turns to be open, honest and vulnerable. Talk about all the ways certain issues could be improved – brainstorm some ideas. Come up with a list and write them down. Commit to make the changes that need to be made. Discuss how you can both check in again in two meetings time to see if things have changed and how you both feel about the relationship.


If you do not deal with something that may be bothering you in the relationship early on, it could fester and the relationship will eventually break down.

For a relationship to grow strong, it needs to be reviewed regularly. Build it into your mentoring journey.

Be brave enough to have those honest conversations and you will be rewarded with a positive mentoring experience.

Article by Catherine Hodgson

Catherine Hodgson is the co-founder and CEO of The Hodgson Group in South Africa and SHIFT Mentoring. Hodgson joined YPO (Young Presidents’ Organization) in 2009 and served as Global Mentoring Chair for 5 years, rolling out the YPO Mentoring program to chapters around the world, developing mentoring material and launching Mentoring Masterclasses. She believes passionately in lifelong learning and has been on a personal journey of lifelong learning in the mentoring and coaching fields. She is a YPO Mentoring Facilitator, Certified Coach and Certified in Conversational Intelligence. Married with two daughters, she lives in Cape Town, South Africa and spends five months of the year in Europe.

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