The road to success depends on many variables but top among them is the person with whom one learns from or derives guidance. In a journey, having a compass or a guide helps in navigating the trip and deciding the route to travel. There are individuals who either by experience or knowledge understands the terrain and are willingly available to help other co-travelers in arriving at their chosen destination at a shorter time, with lower expense and greater impact.
This structured arrangement takes place under a relationship where the receiver (known as mentee or protégé) willingly accepts to subordinate his/herself to another (known as a mentor) to receive help, training, information, advise or direction that will lead to the achievement of a planned program.
Mentors are individuals who sees diamond in coals and can work with individuals despite their imperfections until what they see materializes. They see what is possible, what is distant, and they work towards realizing them. They are motivators, encouragers, supporters, helpers, guardian angels, mobilisers, provokers, connectors (networker), friend, care givers, advisors, modelers, confidants, resourcers, influencers, inspirators, teachers, counsellors, and developers. Mentees are emotional investments of mentors in which they are largely engaged and supportive of their initiatives.
Mentorship relationship happens in the workplace, schools, clubs, social circles, political parties, worship places, etc. What is important is the agreement to enter the relationship, the agreed deliverables, frequency of meetings and where and expected behaviors from both parties. It could happen under one-on-one arrangement or one-to-many, but the privacy and individuality of the persons involved must be guaranteed.
Most mentees select mentors based on some criteria. Importantly factors like trust, ability to transmit the required knowledge/experience, availability and proximity are some factors that are brought to bear while making the decision.