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Don’t Seek a Mentor Who is Your Clone

Your mentor shouldn't be just like you. Here's why.

Matthew Reeves

Mentor matching is one of the biggest factors in the success of a workplace mentoring program. While many mentees may search out a mentor that is similar to them, there are some big advantages to finding a mentor who is different from you. These include moving out of your comfort zone and expanding your skillset. Having a mentor that is not like you can make you a more well-rounded and effective employee. 

Benefits of Having a Mentor that is Different from You

There is no doubt that we are influenced by those people that we spend time with. Habits, values, and morals can all be caught, whether for good or for bad. When it comes to mentorship, there are some great reasons to seek out a mentor that is different from you. Here’s why.

Creates balance

It is not easy to balance every part of your life. For example, some people find they dedicate more time to their work or careers and neglect their families or their health. In the same way, our lives can become imbalanced by those people we spend time with. This is where mentorship with someone who is different can be a plus. By deliberately pairing up with someone who has a different viewpoint it can expand our own world. Look for a mentor match that has a perspective on things that are different from your own views. Doing so can help you develop a more collaborative approach and become a more empathetic individual. 

Makes you a more informed individual

Engaging in a mentorship with someone from a different background or perspective can help you understand other people more. You will become more informed about the challenges that other individuals face in their lives and their careers. Mentorship with others who are not like us can help us see multiple sides of an issue. It can also create better leadership skills as it will cultivate in you the ability to understand other perspectives and be more sensitive to those from different walks of life. All of these will be beneficial throughout your life and career. 


Having a mentor that is different from you will help you develop a better understanding of the world. Whether you pick a mentor that is younger than you, thinks differently from you, or maybe a different gender, all of these perspectives can help you build a better understanding. You may even want to consider a mentor who is not in the same line of work as you. Having a mentor from a different company or industry can offer new clarity on your own company or industry. 

Broaden your skill set

A mentor who is too much like you won’t have much to teach you. Rather, choosing a mentor that is different from you may hyou learn new skills and abilities. They can even expand your hobbies and interests by introducing you to new activities you haven’t tried before. 

Uncovers hidden similarities

While a mentor may seem strikingly different from you on paper, you may find that you have many things in common. At the end of the day, regardless of color, age, or gender, we are all human and have similar wants and needs. Coming to understand and accept this universal truth may help break down barriers for you both professionally and personally. This understanding will also help you to be more accepting of others, which is essential for team building and leadership. 

Tips for Finding the Best Mentor 

It can seem like a challenge to get the right mentor-mentee match but is it one of the biggest factors in a successful workplace mentoring program. Here are some things to look for in a mentor. 


Mentors should be excited about the opportunity for mentorship. They also should believe in the positive impact that mentoring can have on individuals and the organization. 


A good mentor values learning and believes in continuous learning throughout their lives. This passion should be one that they want to share with others. Moreover, a good mentor understands that they are not an expert in everything, but they know how to find the answers. 


Getting you to step outside of your comfort zone is another thing that a good mentor can do. Having new experiences helps you to grow and to learn more. Mentors that are able to identify your comfort zone and encourage you to step outside of it are valuable people to have on your side. 


Good mentors are also good listeners. They know how to give you undivided attention and to really understand what you are saying. 

Offer feedback

Seek out mentors that are able to offer constructive feedback. This will help you see your limitations more clearly. That is the first step to overcoming them. 

Emotionally intelligent

The ability to be sensitive and aware of others’ feelings is a sure sign of a good mentor and someone you want to have on your side. 


Good mentors are committed to helping you get the most out of the experience. These individuals are available and dedicate the time to mentor you.

Finding the right mentor-mentee match is the first step in a positive direction for a workplace mentoring program. Creating the match can feel daunting but it doesn’t have to be. Mentoring software is designed to simplify the process. Together is capable of creating a great match through its algorithm, which can be adjusted depending on your organization’s criteria. 

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