Matching is important to build a strong relationship between mentor and mentee as well as ensure both needs and intentions are being met.

Chances of success of the relationship increase if both parties:

  • Both mentor and mentee have shared experiences or an interest in developing shared skills. 
  • Both prepared to invest time and effort in the relationship and wish to create an effective relationship.
  • Both have a good understanding of each other’s responsibilities and do not have unrealistic expectations.

They know best...

The mentees know best what they want from a relationship. Ask the potential mentees directly what they would like from a mentor. Women with lower confidence are less likely to express their own skills and qualities. Ask the women at the end of the training what they believe their skills, values and qualities are that they could bring to a mentoring relationship.


All mentors require ongoing support and supervision within their role. The supervision of mentors can be a daunting and resourceful task due to their differing levels of involvement, experience and needs. Plan ongoing supervision. Each mentor should have an identified person that they can access for support and advice. If mentors are moving through different settings such as between prisons and the community, an identified supervisor or confident should be made available within the setting in cases of emergencies or risk.

Best Practice Guide

  • Mentor Peer Group: Invite the female mentors to start a peer support group of their own where they can share some of their challenges. This is not a space to discuss cases but instead an arena to discuss ideas for support, community engagement and attracting new mentees to the project.
  • Mentees should explore the qualities and life experiences that they may want from their mentor
  • Encourage mentors to take part in service user activities and service user involvement so they can learn more about the service users and their needs.
  • The matching process is best overseen by a staff member who has experience with the service users and mentors when possible.
  • Organisations and staff want to consider factors such as gender, faith, previous offences, age, values etc. when matching a mentor to a mentee.