Jeremy Zawodny has an inspired thought from his experiences in flying, which he draws upon very neatly in Backseat Flying and Professional Mentoring:
…the best mentor is someone that's only a few steps ahead of you in the learning curve.
…there are times when I've had a good mentor to follow–someone I could strive to be more like in various ways: knowledge, skill, communication, etc. Those are the times when I made the greatest improvements in my job performance and felt like I had the most focus. Other times I've not been so lucky, lacking any real guide to model myself after and not sure what "better" looks like.
This has led me to conclude that good mentors are hard to find. Not only do they have to be open and receptive to the idea of you pestering them for help on various things, they also need to be a good match–someone you can look at and say "I really want to be more like that."…