Dissolving the partnership
It is a good idea to define the partnership before you begin the actual mentoring.
This can be done via the agreement (Word, 22 KB), one part of which deals with the duration of the partnership. With an undefined duration it is possible that it will not fulfill it's goals, as there are no deadlines involved. By planning ahead and setting targets, both the mentee and mentor have something to strive for, and a sense of satisfaction can be felt by both when these are achieved.
Setting a duration does not mean setting it in concrete. Indeed once the partnership has been established you should regularly review the aims and objectives to ensure you are maximising the benefits to both of you.
It will generally become clear to both parties that the partnership has run it's course. When this happens a final review meeting should be arranged, where both parties can discuss what has been achieved, or in some cases what has not happened and why. It is not suggested that following this final meeting there should e no further contact between the mentor and mentee, as both should view the experience as an extension of their networking activities. Continuing to exchange emails will ensure that the partnership, should both parties wish it, becomes a potentially career-long acquaintance.
Should the partnership prove unsuccessful, this should not be seen as a failure on the part of either member. It may well be that the goals of the mentor and mentee are incompatible, or that personality clashes made it unworkable. In this case, both partners need to face this and agree to part. It may be that the mentor can suggest an alternative person to take on the mentee, although this will not always be the case.
Whatever the circumstances regarding the dissolution, it is hoped that this will happen in a professional and amicable way.