Moving On From Your Mentor

A mentor can be invaluable, but relationships change and moving on from your mentor is a big decision.  Here are Get-It-Done Guy’s 7 tips to know when and how to change the relationship.

Stever Robbins
5-minute read
Episode #208

If you can no longer trust your mentor, or you never could, finding a conflict of interest is almost certainly a sign that your relationship is on its last legs. One good light saber swipe will take care of those legs in a jiffy.

Tip #2: Move on if Your Mentor is Reluctant

If your mentor was assigned to you in a corporate mentorship program and he, she, or it doesn't actually want to mentor you, it may be time to move on.

If your company mentoring policy requires you to stay together, it's worth it to try to build some kind of relationship. Ask your mentor, "How can we both get the most out of this arrangement?" You may agree to a relationship that isn't mentorship, but still benefits you both. For example, you could cover for each other when you duck out to interview for a job at a company that doesn't try to force inappropriate mentoring relationships.

Tip #3: Fake It

If your mentor is a powerful, well-connected person in your company or industry and she thinks the relationship is going fine, you might want to consider faking it. Otherwise, she'll kill you and absorb your life force. That would be bad.

Show up and get what you can out of the situation while fawning obsequiously over how amazing and incredible she is. This is called brown-nosing. Welcome to Corporate America.

Tip #4: Move on When Needs Change

You and your mentor are in the relationship because you're both getting something from it.

Both you and your mentor are in the relationship because you're both getting something from it. You're getting guidance, advice, and an outside perspective. Mentors get something too. My mentor blew my mind when he came back from a meeting and said, "I asked myself ‘What would Stever do in that meeting?’ and then I tried that." I'd never realized that mentors also learn from the relationship. I was flattered. True, he did get fired for his behavior in the meeting. But I was still flattered.

There can come a time when the relationship is no longer meeting both your needs. That's a good time to part ways.


About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins was the host of the podcast Get-it-Done Guy from 2007 to 2019. He is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.