If mentors and mentees are too similar, there may be little value for mentees in terms of knowledge,awareness or capability due to the lack of ‘stretch’ in the relationship.
If mentors and mentees are too far apart,then there is a risk of scheme breakdown due to a lack of empathy, credibility and motivation in both directions.
Both mentor and mentee gain more from the relationship if the mentee takes the initiative and if he or she expects developmental (as against directive) behaviours from the mentor.
The more passive the mentee and the more directive the mentor, the less successful the relationship.
Salman Rushdie writes:
Those who do not have the power of the story that dominates their lives—power to retell it, rethink it,deconstruct it,joke about it, and change it as times change—truly are powerless because they cannot think new thoughts.
Mentoring can help us explore our story, think new thoughts and realize a new future. Mentoring gives us an opportunity not to be condemned to repeat our pasts.
Mentoring is essentially a voluntary activity.
Mentoring is for the mentee.Attempts to impose agendas on the mentee result in manipulation and social engineering.
Mentors should reflect on their own ethical approach. References can be both external (e.g. a professional body) and internal (own values, situational ).
(Excerpted from Mentoring in Action—A Practical Guide (2nd Edition) [Chapter 1: The Mentoring Framework] by D Megginson,D Clutterbuck, B Garvey,P Stokes and R Garrett-Harris.)