Someone Like Me…

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):

Age Gender Race or Ethnicity
Professional Area, Career Focus Taste or Style, Aesthetic Values Social or Economic Standing
Morals, Ethical Context Religious or Spiritual Beliefs Academic Standing, Particular Schools Attended
Common Hobbies, Sports, Memberships Accomplishments and Experience: Where They Are in Their Journey Language or Languages Spoken
Hierarchical Status or Political Power Sexual Orientation Family or Marital Status: Parent or Single, Married or Divorced or Widowed
Nationality or Citizenship (Origin or Current) Health, Physical Illness or Impairment Military Experience or Status

Surprisingly, 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


  1. […] MentorCloud has been asked to contribute a chapter to a book being edited by one of our customers. As I did when writing “Sun Mentoring: 1996-2009“, I am putting together chapter section drafts piece by piece, published in this blog and on the MentorCloud blog as they are developed. (By the way, Oracle is no longer distributing the Sun Microsystems Labs Technical Report: “Sun Mentoring: 1996-2009″  by Katy Dickinson, Tanya Jankot and Helen Gracon, but it is still available for free download on our family website and is also available for purchase from the ACM Digital Library.)  Here are the eight essays I have published so far: […]


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