Someone Like Me...

Published on
April 5, 2013

Many mentees are looking for a mentor who is like themselves in some particular way: a person with whom they feel commonality. Seeking "someone like me" can cover a broad range of characteristics.  In many years of hearing candidates talk about wanting to be mentored by "someone like me", characteristics mentioned included (in no particular order):AgeGenderRace or EthnicityProfessional Area, Career FocusTaste or Style, Aesthetic ValuesSocial or Economic StandingMorals, Ethical ContextReligious or Spiritual BeliefsAcademic Standing, Particular Schools AttendedCommon Hobbies, Sports, MembershipsAccomplishments and Experience: Where They Are in Their JourneyLanguage or Languages SpokenHierarchical Status or Political PowerSexual OrientationFamily or Marital Status: Parent or Single, Married or Divorced or WidowedNationality or Citizenship (Origin or Current)Health, Physical Illness or ImpairmentMilitary Experience or StatusSurprisingly, although this is a long list and covers much of human experience, it does not address a primary consideration in making a mentoring match. That is Availability. How well the potential mentor's and mentee's schedules match (and their flexibility to accommodate each other) is frequently a deciding factor. Time requirements are often the first issue raised by a potential mentor: how long? how often? exactly when? A mentor seemingly-perfect in all other respects who is not available to the mentee is a bad match. If the mentor and mentee start their relationship with open hearts and minds and meet regularly, they will find common ground, even if their characteristics are not otherwise aligned.Image Copyright 2013 by Katy Dickinson

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