Articles on: For Mentees

Why Mentorship Needs Time Limits

You've found your perfect Mentor at Plato. They're engaging, have incredible experience, and are exactly what you need to get from Point A in your career to Point B. Why would you ever want to end this relationship?

While there will never be a binary answer to this question, there are a few reasons why it is important to kick-off mentorship relationships with time limits in mind, even with the most ideal mentor:

Things change: your mentor today might be the right person to help you solve today's professional growth goals, but your needs - and your mentor's focus - will change over time. By having a pre-determined check-point in your relationship, it not only gives both you and your mentor the opportunity to pause and reflect back on what you have accomplished, but also to think again of the future and what value you think you want to derive out of the relationship. It is possible that you realize that a new mentor can help you accomplish your new goals faster and more effectively.

Create accountability: by limiting how much time you have with your mentor, there is added motivation to move through a full learning cycle. David Kolb talks about a four stage learning cycle as seem below:
David Kolb's Learning Cycle

While mentorship pairs with all four cycles, it typically begins and ends in Reflective Observation - you introspect and recognize an area of growth, work with a mentor to go through all four stages, and then ultimately come full circle to reflect upon your growth.

By putting a time limit on your mentorship relationship, it ensures you truly move through the cycle, and don't become stuck at a certain stage.

You need time to recharge: after completing a full cycle, everyone needs time to let learnings change from deliberate efforts to unconscious habits. It is not uncommon to need a break - likely your mentor would benefit from one too. It is important to know that you're not saying goodbye to the mentor for good - you can always reach back out and re-engage with the mentor if a new challenge presents itself. However, the need for active, recurring meetings may dissipate.

Every Mentorship relationship is unique. There are some which will last for a few weeks, and others that will last for a whole lifetime. We at Plato know that you are the best judge of how you and your mentorship partner are working together.

Take a peek at this article to see if there are signs indicating that it could be time for a new mentorship partner.

Updated on: 02/14/2023