I read Meg's Thing 11 post on mentoring with interest. My experiences of mentoring have been thus:
1. On beginning work in the LRC at Kingston College I was assigned a mentor who would monitor my training and be my go-to person with any questions and problems. After a non-specified period of time, once settled, that relationship comes to an end. I have also been a mentee to two new employees in the LRC but felt uncomfortable under that label. I felt more like a 'buddy' just making sure that training was completed and they got settled in well and nowhere near experienced enough to be labelled as a 'mentor'.
2. As part of chartership you are required to have a mentor to guide you through the process. I found my mentor's help extremely valuable as she was able to suggest things for me to do, ensure I was writing evaluatively (see my earlier post!) and making sure I was generally on the right track.
I think a true mentor is hard to find. You could say that a good line manager is a mentor as they help you by guiding your work, presenting opportunities and encouraging your development but I think a lot comes down to the personal relationship you have. Meg used the word 'comfortable' to describe a relationship between mentor and mentee and I agree - I see a mentor as not only someone who can provide you with all that guidance and support but also some you're happy to sit down and have a cup of coffee with.