Karen Milde, Reframe Marketing, Vancouver, BC, CYBF Mentor, www.reframemarketing.com
In my experience both as a mentor and a mentee, I have found that a formal relationship between the two parties helps them both parties achieve their goals. The mentee is encouraged to set goals and achieve them within the time that he or she is working with the mentor. On the other hand, the mentor is continually exploring ways that he/she can add value to the relationship on both a professional and personal level.
During my time as a mentor, I had several casual, unofficial mentors that I would go to for advice. I would encourage other mentees to do the same. This casual mentorship is not a substitute for the traditional mentor-mentee relationship, but is a way to enhance the experience as a whole. You will be amazed how receptive professional people are to this idea of being a casual mentor and you should not feel as if this is an imposition for them. Remember that they were once in your position and can be a great source of advice. There is no harm in asking them and the worst they could say is that they do not have time. However, the majority will be more than happy to help you however they can.