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Mentorship: How To Choose Your Mentor

How To Choose Your Mentor

A mentor is defined by the Cambridge dictionary as 'a person who gives a younger or less experienced person help and advice over a period of time, especially at work or school'. 

In light of this definition, there are several undeniable factors which must be considered prior to choosing your mentor. Below are just a few:

1)                  Experience

It's important that your mentor has had first-hand experience in an area relevant to what you, as a mentee, would like to receive support in. The experience which a mentor brings can be truly valuable and not only reduces the time it takes to overcome a challenge but they can pre-empt
challenging situations saving you, the mentee, any potential emotional, mental and financial stress. Does your mentor have experience that is relevant to you?

2)                  Career Trajectory

You, as a mentee, might prefer to choose a mentor who is currently in your field or perhaps instead, who has accomplished significantly in your field but has chosen to transition away from it and are no longer active in it. Does the current position of your mentor bare greater significance to you than their historical accomplishments?

3)                  Gender

It's very common for mentees to align themselves with a mentor of the same gender. This is for a number of reasons such as comfortability, relatability, and communication styles. During the early stages of my career, my mentors were of the opposite gender but as I gained more experience, I chose mentors who were of the same gender as me. Does the gender of your mentor matter to you?

4)                  Age

When you hear the term mentor, your mind might naturally gravitate towards individuals who are a couple of decades older than you. These individuals might be able to provide you with an insight into the path they took in order to progress professionally, as well as the challenges they faced and overcame. As they're considerably older than you, they might have a broad and established network which you could plug into. Alternatively, you might prefer to choose a mentor who is only a few years older than you but has a significant amount of wisdom, understanding and experience; they could be considered to be more relatable to you having overcome challenges that you'd most likely face in the near future only recently within the last 5-10 years. Which age range appeals to you more for mentorship?

5)                 Cultural Background

Believe it or not, it's important to consider the cultural background of your mentor. The communication style and approach of your mentor can typically be attributed to their social environments earlier on in life. Some mentors are softly spoken and diplomatic whilst other mentors are more directive in their communication style.  A mentor who has the same cultural background as you might be considered to be more relatable in terms of their outlook on life and their perspective and experiences through their commitment to battle to progression. Given this insight, do you have a preference regarding the cultural background of your mentor?

6)                Competence

There's a growing pool of mentors within the UK, certified and uncertified, accredited and unaccredited. It's imperative that mentees seek out certified mentors and where possible, accredited mentors, not only because this provides a comfort that the mentor is credible but for their own peace of mind with regards to safeguarding e.g. having the right documentation in place such as the mentorship agreement, contract, DBS etc. It's common for experienced individuals, who have strong branding for their mentorship businesses, to offer mentorship however, if they're not certified or accredited, then there's a strong possibility that they haven't been through a thorough process ensuring their competence. Would you choose an uncertified or unaccredited mentor?

Jahmella Encourages offers a mentorship scheme for professional females aged 18-30, and it's delivered by an accredited mentor who has a DBS, has completed Safeguarded training and has the correct documentation prior to running the Jahmella Encourages Mentorship (JEM) scheme. The JEM scheme is niche in that it follows a weekly plan with weekly outcomes and focuses on professional development. Whilst the scheme runs for just 5 weeks, contact doesn't cease once the scheme has concluded; access is granted to useful resources post-scheme. 

For more information about the JEM scheme, please email