12: Ending the mentoring program

This module is closely linked to Module 6 – Monitoring and evaluating the mentoring program.

After reading this section you should:

● understand the importance of closing the formal relationship between mentee and mentor

● be able to help mentoring pairs to celebrate their achievements and share learning.

Key questions to ask yourself

  1. How much time is available for the closing meeting between mentees and mentors?

  2. What resources are available for the closing meeting?

  3. What are your evaluation objectives? How can the closing meeting support the achievement of those objectives?

12.1 Closing meeting formats

The closing of the mentoring program is just as important as the opening. It’s a chance to celebrate the learnings and achievements of mentees, thank the mentors for the energy they have given, share what has been learned, and discuss next steps.

Some mentees may not feel they have achieved anything, or that they have failed. It is important to make them feel that this is normal and it is okay to feel this way. But as long as they can share what they have learned, then there is cause to celebrate!

The format you choose for the closing meeting will depend on your mentoring approach, design constraints, and available resources. It should also align with/support the evaluation approach (see Module 6 – Monitoring and evaluating the mentoring program). Some options you might consider are presented in Table 9.

Note: the one mentoring approach that may not include a closing meeting is event-based (events-only) mentoring.

Table 9: Options for closing meeting formats

Format

Relevant mentoring approach

Description

Pros

Cons

Resources

Workshop

Face-to-face

  • Face-to-face meeting that normally goes for 2 to 3 days and focuses on celebrating successes, reflecting on lessons learned, and next steps

  • All mentees and mentors are included

  • Enables mentees and mentors to feel valued, which encourages them to participate in future programs

  • May deepen evaluation findings

  • Big time commitment, particularly for mentors

  • If not designed and facilitated well, participants may feel it is not a good use of their time

Agenda for closing workshop (face-to-face)

Webinar

Face-to-face, event-based, online

A 90-minute virtual meeting with all the mentees and mentors

  • Easier commitment for busy mentors to make

  • Less time commitment required from mentoring coordinator

Can be difficult to get people in remote areas to join

Agenda for closing webinar

Conversations with mentoring pairs

Face-to-face, event-based, online

Calling or emailing individual mentoring pairs to honour their achievements, commitment, and learnings

More personalised approach, able to be tailored to pairs

Time intensive for the mentoring coordinator

12.2 Graduation

Graduation is normally the final part of the closing meeting. Whether the graduation takes place at a venue in your capital city, or you do a virtual graduation by webinar, consider inviting donors and partners to hear the stories of transformation of mentees and mentors, which may inspire them to get involved in a future program. How you present those stories is up to you – you could have mentees prepare a poster with their key achievements and learnings and/or have a selection speak – but be creative!

Of course, it wouldn’t be a graduation without certificates! See the certificate template in the Resources section of this module. You can give them out at the graduation, or email/post copies to participants.

12.3 Staying in touch

Many mentees and mentors ask us if they are allowed to stay in touch when the formal mentoring period concludes. We encourage them to discuss this with their mentor/mentee and, if both agree, to set some informal agreements about how they wish to continue.

Your evaluation approach may also include following up with mentees and mentors a number of years after the program has ended. You may be surprised how many have decided to stay in touch and do amazing things together!

12.4 Debriefing

It’s very important the program team gets time to celebrate their achievements and reflect on their learnings. This may need to happen separately to the mentee and mentor workshop and graduation. Make sure this is part of your M&E process.

Take action!

  • Decide on a format for the closing meeting.

  • Make sure that this aligns with your evaluation approach.

  • Prepare the agenda and relevant content for the closing meeting.

  • Schedule a debrief with the program team.

  • Prepare and submit your final evaluation report (see Module 6 – Monitoring and evaluating the mentoring program for resources).

Resources

Stories

Fiona, Young Agripreneurs Project, talking about how her team linked a closing webinar into their final evaluation process