How to Thank Your Mentor (With Tips, Tricks and Examples)
Reuben O'Connell
5 minutes
May 26, 2023

A well-planned mentorship programme will build a strong company culture that empowers employees and encourages an environment where learning, growth, trust, and open communication take priority. 

Mentorship has proven to improve retention rates, employee satisfaction, and productivity. However, there is one crucial aspect many don’t pay attention to, which might be the most important of them all: 

Thanking your mentor. 

Showing gratitude for all the help and guidance you’ve received and making an effort to let your mentor or mentee know how they have impacted your life for the better.

This simple act strengthens the bond between employees and makes them more than that—it establishes respect for each other as people—and that relationship lasts for years to come. 

So if you want to learn why you should thank your mentorship partner or how or when to show your appreciation—read on! 

The importance of showing gratitude in mentorship

According to a survey by the American Psychological Association (APA)—93% of employees feel more motivated to work and deliver their best if they feel appreciated and recognised. 

Just a simple act of saying thank you or showing your gratitude by getting a token of appreciation or even a cup of coffee can have an immense effect on the working relationship between mentors and mentees, and that contributes to a healthy working environment and company culture. It can also cement the relationship way beyond the mentorship. 

When to thank your mentor or mentee

The best time to thank your mentor or mentee for their efforts and for providing their valuable experiences is whenever you feel like it! It can be before or after your daily or weekly session—or even on a break whenever you see them. 

For example, you could approach them on a lunch break, ask them if they can spare some time, and treat them to something nice while thanking them. 

So there is no one size fits all answer to this—you have to take the initiative and grasp the opportunity whenever it presents itself, or you might even have to make an opportunity but rest assured, your actions to do will not go unappreciated, and you will thank yourself later that you took this step. 

Ways to thank your mentor: From the formal to the fun

1. Thank you letters

Depending on your relationship with your mentor or mentee, thank you letters can be an excellent way to show how much you appreciate them and their guidance in your career. 

You can send a carefully crafted email or take the traditional approach of writing it down on paper and sending it to their address—this will show gratitude and the time and dedication you put towards showing your emotions. 

Example wording for thank you letters

“I am genuinely thankful for the help and guidance you have provided me. I would not be where I am without your support, and I hope you know how impactful you have been in changing the direction of my career for the better. I hope and pray for your health, success, and happiness—once again, thank you!”

2. Gifts of appreciation 

Sometimes, we can’t figure out how to put our feelings into words, and that’s okay. There are other ways to show gratitude, such as giving gifts. They don’t have to be expensive, just well thought-out, something that symbolises or shows the journey you have been through with the other person or something that can serve as a memento. 

Example gifts that won’t break the budget

🎨 Painting or crafts

If you enjoy arts and crafts, why not make something for your mentor? You can gift them a small, handmade token of appreciation that shows the importance of your relationship and how it has impacted your life. A picture is worth a thousand words; keep that in mind and let your creativity flow. 

☕️ Coffee

A very simple gift is taking someone for coffee, tea and a piece of cake. It’s a simple gesture but often appreciated as it gives you time away from the office to talk in a more informal environment. You could also take them out for lunch if you want to make a bigger gesture of thanks, but don’t worry if your budget doesn’t stretch to that!

🎟 Tickets

After spending a lot of time with your mentorship partner, you’re bound to know them pretty well. Inviting them to an event, whether it’s a work related talk or something that you both enjoy outside of the office, is a great way to build your relationship outside of mentorship. 

📎 Office essentials

There are plenty of inexpensive but still thoughtful ways to gift your mentor or mentee with something useful. Maybe a box of paperclips isn’t the right way to go, but a mug, mousepad, neck or lumbar support pillow, or anything else you think they’d appreciate will do the job. All of these are items that they can use daily and will help them in the office while serving as a reminder of you.  

3. Fun ways to say thanks

Showing your appreciation doesn’t always have to be upright and formal. It can be fun and light-hearted, and this change of pace can be very well received from the constant professionalism of everyday office life. 

Examples of fun ways to say thank you

  • Inject some humor into any of the above ideas! For example a mug that says best mentor ever
  • Keep your thank you light, for example: “I commend your resilience to sit with me week after week. Thank you!” 
  • Take them to a fun or unusual event that you think they might enjoy

If you and your mentor have built solid rapport, and have a shared sense of humor, there’s no reason you can’t inject some personality into your thank you!

Mentoring, coaching and sponsorship e-book bannerHow to stay in touch with your mentor

Your mentor or mentee might not be in the same organisation or position you worked in, but that shouldn’t stop you from reaching out. 

Generally, people tend to overthink in these scenarios and keep waiting, but all that is needed is an email, a letter, a voice or video call, or a gift, and your sentiment is conveyed perfectly to the other person. 

You could follow your mentors’ organisational or personal achievements and congratulate them—it’ll be greatly appreciated and serve as an excellent conversation starter. 

Additionally, whenever you have even a small victory in your career—feel free to get in touch and tell them about it and let them know how far you’ve come because they were there to guide you. 

There is no specific time to get in contact with something that positively impacted your career and life. So while getting in touch during the holiday season is fine—there is no reason not to contact them outside of that. 

Everyone loves gifts and getting complimented—it’s human nature and lets the other person know how grateful you are to them. Hopefully, you now better understand why little gestures of appreciation are so important towards building strong and lasting relationships that can help you advance in your career. 

If you want to learn more about mentorship and its impact on an organisation, check out our further reading: 

How to Find a Great Mentor

How to Break Up With Your Mentor

50 Questions to Ask a Mentor

What is a Mentor?

Celebrating LGBTQ+ Mentors in History

Get the Most Out of Your Mentoring Relationship

What's next?

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