February 3, 2020

What are the four main stages of mentoring?

Doug Lawrence

I am asked on numerous occasions to respond to questions regarding mentoring, mentoring process and how mentoring can bring value to individuals and/or organizations. Here is a question I received recently and my response.

What are the four main stages of mentoring?

There are a number of different viewpoints on this topic with responses ranging from 3 to as many as 10 stages in the mentoring relationship.

I have broken it down into three.

Trusting phase: This is during the very early stages of the mentoring relationship where expectations of each participant are discussed and defined. This is where it is very important that trust be developed between the two participants. Building a trusted relationship will provide the foundation to move forward with your mentoring relationship. It is important for the mentor to be whole as a person. This may take only a few sessions or it may take a while to develop the level of trust needed to move forward.

Learning and Development phase: This is where you will spend a large part of your time as a mentor/mentee. This is where the “heavy lifting” takes place in the mentoring relationship. You will explore personal growth challenges as well as professional (career related) challenges. You may encounter challenges such as self-esteem, self-worth and self-confidence. I call these the “self-challenges”. This phase can go on for a long period of time.

Maintenance phase: You may reach a time where the mentor and mentee decide that you have addressed the majority of the challenges and that you feel you no longer need to meet on a regular basis. With the Maintenance phase you can agree to meet less frequently or not at all. What I do recommend is for mentors to check in every so often to see how things are going. I periodically check in either via email or in person depending on the location of my mentee. If things are going well we can stay in the Maintenance phase and if they are not then we can transition back to the Learning and Development phase.

Looking at the stages/phases in this manner keeps the mentoring process less complicated.


Doug Lawrence is the founder of TalentC® and co-founder of the International Mentoring Community (IMC).

Doug leads organizations to experience the benefits how mentoring will encourage workforce culture to flow in harmony (mentors), improve productivity from employees (mentees), reducing costly employee onboarding improving the bottom line (organizations).

Doug is an International Certified Mentor Practitioner (ICMP), an International Certified Mentor Facilitator (ICMF), and has obtained his Certificate of Achievement – Mentoring and his Certificate of Competence – Mentor from the International Mentoring Community (IMC).

Doug’s Practice of Mentoring has resulted in his accumulation of 1,950 hours of mentoring (in person and virtual), 200 hours of speaking opportunities and 672 hours teaching others how to effectively mentor.

Doug is recognized as a “Most viewed writer in the Business Mentoring and Mentors and Mentoring categories on the Quora website (

Doug is a volunteer mentor with the Sir Richard Branson Entrepreneur Program in the Caribbean and with the American Corporate Partners in the United States working with military personnel in their transition from military life to civilian life.

Doug is currently working with researchers to examine the role of mentoring as a support for those struggling with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). His experience in law enforcement coupled with working with people suffering from PTSD has afforded him a unique view of mentoring and PTSD.

Doug is an international speaker and author about all facets of Mentoring. He published “The Gift of Mentoring” in 2014 with his second book set to publish in 2020.

Doug works with organizations to establish mentoring programs, influence mentoring as a culture, and provides one-on-one direct mentoring for individuals of all backgrounds and levels globally.

Contact Doug directly to discover how mentoring can improve your organization.




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