The mentoring relationship typically has four distinct phases:
- ORIENTATION - BUILDING THE BASE
- During the first three to six months, both the mentor and protégé are getting to know each other, and building trust. At this time, both the protégé and the mentor are developing expectations of each other. The interaction which occurs at this stage will lay the foundation for a strong and benificial relationship.
- THE MIDDLE PERIOD
- The middle phase is typically the most rewarding time for both mentor and protégé. The mutual trust which has developed between the two can give the protégé the confidence to challenge the ideas of the mentor, just as the protégé's ideas will be challenged by the mentor.
- DISSOLVING THE RELATIONSHIP
- Typically, the relationship begins to draw apart after a year or two. It is important, at this stage, that the mentor step back from the formal relationship to discuss together with the protégé, how they wish to continue their relationship.
- REDEFINING THE RELATIONSHIP
- The mentor-protégé relationship enters a new phase, where both parties can regard one another as equals. They continue to have some form of interaction, although it is now on a more casual basis.