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I've had a mentor for several years, but I feel like I've outgrown his advice. How do I tell him I need to move on without burning a bridge?


Topic Expert
Samuel Dergel
Title: Director - Executive Search
Company: Stanton Chase International
LinkedIn Profile
(Director - Executive Search, Stanton Chase International) |

It seems like you have a close relationship with your mentor, and you feel that the mentor has added value to you in the past. It is important to keep this person in your circle of influence, considering their long relationship with you. People can have more than one mentor. In essence, you don't have to 'dump' him or her. Just reduce the frequency with which you meet.

I am missing some information that could help me provide a more precise answer. If I can be more specific for you, please let me know.


Ken Mason
Title: Controller
Company: Pascua Yaqui Tribe
LinkedIn Profile
(Controller, Pascua Yaqui Tribe) |

It may be that you now feel very confident in one facet of your career and are no longer looking to grow in that area, but I hope you don't think you're done learning or that your mentor does not have anything to offer in other areas. I still speak with my mentor from my non-profit days over 10 years ago and continue to open my mind to the perspective and wisdom that he brings to bear on a wide array of topics. You will do well to remain open to learning from everyone you encounter, most especially someone who has made the commitment to help you grow.

Topic Expert
Keith Perry
Title: Director of Global Accounting
Company: Agrinos, Inc.
(Director of Global Accounting, Agrinos, Inc.) |

Restating the above: Saying things to your Mentor like "You've helped me advance greatly...." insinuating that they are valuable *and* that you have advanced is a good way to start migrating the relationship, if is not migrating on its own.

As Ken and Samuel stated above, to the extent that you respect this person, they should be a part of your personal board / network. Keep them fresh on what you are doing, and you may find that you've underestimated the long term value.

Topic Expert
Jim Quinlan
Title: CFO, Managing Director
Company: Trinity Group, BlueGold, Genergy, Wellco..
LinkedIn Profile
(CFO, Managing Director, Trinity Group, BlueGold, Genergy, Wellcount) |

You should ask your mentor where he/she thinks you stand in your growth, what is needed and how he/she will help you get there.

Maybe he/she will open your eyes to places where you still need to learn or realize him/herself that you need help that is beyond his/her abilities.

Topic Expert
Scott MacDonald
Title: President/Owner
Company: AlphaMac Resources, Inc.
(President/Owner, AlphaMac Resources, Inc.) |

Maybe restating what has been said before, I would recommend expand your definition of "mentor" to include just about anyone who has information/experience that you don't.

In fact you have done that by coming to Proformative and asking for advice!!

Topic Expert
Tom Sheppard
Title: President
Company: The Sheppard Group
(President, The Sheppard Group) |

I find your question a bit odd unless you are paying your mentor. Is he a consultant? When I have been a mentor or mentee I developed some type of relationship with my counterpart. The relationship grew as we became more like piers. Our conversations and the topics evolved. We might meet less often or the mentor would even become the mentee for a topic. Do you possibly need a new mentor? Yes, but you can have many mentors. Most mentors know that. I have to agree with the thread that asks, "why would you ever end a good business relationship?"

Topic Expert
Mark Richards
Title: VP Operations and Finance
Company: VP / CFO - Private Company
(VP Operations and Finance, VP / CFO - Private Company) |

Keeping it simple, I think there are two items that enable a mentor relationship to both endure and produce.

The first is based upon the change and development of each person. Like a company needs different types of management for different cycles of its business, the same can be for a mentor/coach.

The second is the pace of change/advice someone can can infuse into their career during a period of time. Many people reach a limit, while not an impasse toward taking advice, it is time for a break - since the good advice received will fall on less fertile ground.

I've advise you to try to sort out which situation you find yourself in.

A good paid mentor/coach will know when it's time to kick the bird out of the nest and most I've met make it a point to do so. That point is not always crystal clear, but if you feel that it's time, then the best approach is honesty that time to take a break.

A volunteer mentor/coach may not see that, so perhaps it's just changing your relationship to a more casual arrangement.

I had a great coach and we reached this point in our relationship, primarily because I was changed my focus and moving outside their area of expertise. I brought it up and we agreed time to change. We stay in contact with a good relationship.

You are right it's never good to burn a bridge, so you are starting with the right place in mind. Thanks for bringing this to the Proformative community and thanks to the other participants.

Hope this helps.



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